(Candice Ward / USA Today Sports)
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Back on Friday the 13th (of January), the Calgary Flames had a golden opportunity to pick up two points heading into a tough match-up with the Edmonton Oilers the following Saturday. Their Friday game was with the lowly New Jersey Devils. It was arguably their worst performance of the season, as they lacked attention to detail and ended up losing 2-1.
Tonight, the Flames begin a three game road trip in Newark against the very same Devils. You’ve gotta believe that the coaching staff will have the team laser-focused on proving that their Friday the 13th nightmare game was a complete aberration and that they have the capability to trounce the Devils and pick up a sorely needed two points.
The puck drops at 5:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
Given Glen Gulutzan’s “win and you’re in” mentality regarding his goaltenders of late, I’d expect Brian Elliott to start this evening. He’s 10-12-2 with a 2.80 goals against average and .896 save percentage. He’s won twice in a row and was superb in the first period against Minnesota.
The Flames played on Wednesday and were quite good, beating the Wild 5-1. As such, they’re not making any changes to their lineup. So we’ll see Garnet Hathaway (injury), Freddie Hamilton and Brett Kulak on the sidelines tonight.
The 3M Line was reunited on Wednesday but held off the scoreboard. But the Flames won anyway, because their top guys actually played really well (for once). Sean Monahan had a pair of goals and Johnny Gaudreau was perpetually dangerous at even strength. If this keeps up, the Flames may have some depth that could cause some problems for opposition clubs focusing on line-matching.
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
Cory Schneider meets the Flames for the first (and only) time this season. He’s 15-15-7 with a 2.72 goals against average and .910 save percentage. He’s been pretty good for a New Jersey team that simply doesn’t score enough goals to be competitive most nights.
The Devils have been off since their win over Detroit on Tuesday. They were just good enough to win on that night and the win has kept them more or less in the muck that is the Eastern Conference playoff race. Lots of changes for the Devils tonight compared to Tuesday, though:
- Blandisi, Kalinin, Helgeson and Greene are in.
- Fiddler, Smith-Pelly, Stollery and Merrill are out.
In 100 previous regular season games between the Flames and Devils franchises, the Flames are 63-24-13. They met last month in Calgary, with the Flames losing 2-1 in one of their more flat performances of the season.
KNOW THY ENEMY
Some Devils Twitter accounts to keep an eye on for tonight’s game:
SUM IT UP
The Flames left points on the table the last time they faced the Devils. They’ll need to be keyed in from the opening puck drop tonight because they absolutely cannot afford to let points slip through their fingers at this time of year.