(Eric Hartline / USA Today Sports)
We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot deliver in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.
Before the Calgary Flames left for their six game mega-trip, I had my doubts. I thought they would win three games, perhaps. With four games down, they’ve won three of them and they actually seem like they have momentum as they had into the final two games (on two consecutive nights, in two different states) of this trip. The Flames face the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, a team that has the same number of points as they do. It’s a winnable game if they play the way they’ve played on this trip so far.
It’s a 5:30 p.m. MT start on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan! We know the Grey Cup is on at basically the exact same time. We’ll have a recap for you later tonight, so if you happen to only have one screen to watch the Stampeders on, we’ve got you covered.
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
Coming off his seventh win of the season, Chad Johnson makes his 12th start of this campaign – tying him with Brian Elliott for the most starts. Johnson is 7-3-1 with a 1.98 goals against average and .928 save percentage. He’s been good, is the long and the short of it.
Here’s the deal with the forwards for tonight: Kris Versteeg’s back in tonight. If nothing else changes, that means that Hunter Shinkaruk, Mark Jankowski and Jyrki Jokipakka are the healthy scratches for tonight. Since it’s a back-to-back situation, there’s a non-trivial chance that all three could play either tonight or against the Islanders tomorrow night. When asked this morning, Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan wouldn’t say whether Jankowski would play tonight or not, indicating that (a) he knows but doesn’t want to say or (b) he doesn’t know. There’s no morning skate today due to a ’76ers game at the same arena this afternoon, so all we can do is guess until the line-ups are finalized…but there’s a fairly decent chance that Jankowski ends up playing tonight or tomorrow (because otherwise there’s no point in plucking him from the AHL).
The Flames have defended well enough over the past several games. Their special teams have been actually pretty decent, particularly the penalty kill. Their goaltending has been rock-solid. They have a good shot at winning tonight.
Lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Anthony Stolarz makes his NHL debut tonight. He was drafted in 2012, 23 spots after Jankowski, and has been almost-debuting for the past couple of seasons with the Flyers. He’s been good in the OHL and AHL thus far, we’ll see how he does tonight.
The Flyers have all kinds of interesting characters, including former Brandon Wheat Kings standout Ivan Provorov, former OHL star Travis Konecny, and the incomparable Shayne Gostisbehere. Remember Dale Weise? He had a hat trick against the Flames last season when he was with the Canadiens.
The Flyers haven’t been a world-beater this season and have struggled with consistency, but they’re not an easy out. They’re big, they’re fast, they’re young and they have a bunch of talented players on their roster. The Flames will need to play a smart game to grind out some points.
This round 115 in the never-ending battle between the Flames and the Flyers. The Flames have a 45-56-14 record. Last year, the two clubs split their two meetings. They’ll meet again in Calgary in mid-February.
KNOW THY ENEMY
Some Flyers follows for y’all tonight:
SUM IT UP
The Flames can guarantee that they had home with a winning record on this mega-trip with a victory tonight. Better yet, they can creep to just one game below the .500 mark (with a chance to even the ledger against the Islanders on Monday). If they play the way they’ve played throughout much of this trip, they have a decent shot at it.