FGD 51: A trip to Montreal (5:30pm MT, SN West)


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(Eric Bolte / USA Today Sports)

We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot deliver in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.

Just 24 hours after laying an egg against Toronto, the Calgary Flames are back in action and hoping for a better office when they face the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs are one of the National Hockey League’s top teams and boast one of the league’s best goaltenders in Carey Price. For a team that’s struggled recently to generate offense, tonight has the makings of a big challenge. Are the Flames up to the challenge?

Find out tonight at 5:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

THE FLAMES

Yesterday’s lines via Daily Faceoff:

Matthew TkachukMikael BacklundMichael Frolik
Johnny GaudreauSean MonahanAlex Chiasson
Kris VersteegSam BennettTroy Brouwer
Lance BoumaMatt StajanFreddie Hamilton

Mark GiordanoDougie Hamilton
T.J. BrodieDennis Wideman
Brett KulakDeryk Engelland

Since Brian Elliott played and lost yesterday in Toronto, Chad Johnson starts tonight in Montreal. He’s 16-11-1 with a 2.41 goals against average and .917 save percentage. He’s been Calgary’s better goalie this season, but he’s struggled lately. But hey, everybody on the Flames has struggled recently it seems. They’re riding a three game losing skid and have dropped five of their last six.

The expectation that the Flames will tinker with their lineup tonight after how flat they were last night. The team has confirmed that Brett Kulak will stay in, so there’s likely no change on the blueline. Micheal Ferland was a healthy scratch last night and it’s unclear if he comes back in or not. Garnet Hathaway is on the injured reserve so, if they wanted to, the Flames could recall somebody from Stockton if they wanted to.

The Flames need to be better. A consistent 60 minutes would be a nice start.

THE CANADIENS

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Max PaciorettyPhillip Danault Alexander Radulov
Artturi LehkonenTomas PlekanecPaul Byron
Sven AndrighettoBrian FlynnAndrew Shaw
Daniel CarrJacob De La RoseTorrey Mitchell

Alexei EmelinShea Weber
Nathan BeaulieuJeff Petry

Mark BarberioZach Redmond

Carey Price suits up for Montreal tonight. He’s 21-9-5 with a 2.36 goals against average and .920 save percentage. He plays a lot and he plays really well, and his steadiness has helped solidify a lot for Montreal this season.

The Habs are without Charles Hudon, David Desharnais, Brendan Gallagher, Andrei Markov and Alex Galchenyuk tonight. But they do have quite a bit of depth, including former Flames breakaway champion Paul Byron (who’s been a boon for their middle six). Beyond their speedy and skilled forwards, they have a good mix of big physical defenders and mobile puck-movers.

It could be another long night for the Flames.

THE NUMBERS

FLAMES CANADIENS
Wins 24 28
Points
(Pct.)
51
(.510)
63
(.656)
Power Play 20.6% 22.4%
Penalty Kill 81.3% 79.8%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 50.3% 53.0%

HISTORY LESSON

This is the 112th regular season game between the Flames and Montreal. The Flames are 38-56-17 all-time against the Habs. This is the first of two contests between these teams this year. They meet again in Calgary in early March.

Remember that time the Flames beat Montreal for the Stanley Cup? That was fun.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Some Canadiens follows for y’all tonight:

SUM IT UP

If the Flames lose this game in regulation, they’re back at the .500 mark points-wise. They need to find a way back to consistent hockey and find a way to grind out some points by hook or by crook.