FGD 58: Mirror images (7:30pm MT, SN West)

Just 48 hours after laying an egg against the Arizona Coyotes, the Calgary Flames are back at it at the Scotiabank Saddledome. They’ll hope to put their flat effort behind them as they host the Philadelphia Flyers. In several ways, the Flyers are the Flames’ mirror image: they’re 9th in the East and are chasing down a playoff spot. They’re a mixture of young talent and expensive older players. Even their underlying numbers are nearly identical! It should be a very intriguing game, and a big contest for both clubs.

The puck drops at 7:30 pm. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:


Johnny Gaudreau


Sean Monahan


Troy Brouwer


Matthew Tkachuk


Mikael Backlund


Michael Frolik



Kris Versteeg


Sam Bennett


Alex Chiasson


Lance Bouma


Matt Stajan
Micheal Ferland


Mark Giordano


Dougie Hamilton


T.J. Brodie
Deryk Engelland


Brett Kulak



Dennis Wideman

With “win and you’re in” still holding sway in the Flames coaching office, Brian Elliott suits up tonight. He played the third period against Arizona and was completely adequate – in that he only gave up one goal on nine shots. He’s 11-13-2 with a 2.85 goals against average and .895 save percentage this season. He’s been pretty solid over his last few starts, and the Flames will need a big game from him to help right the ship.

Lance Bouma slots back into the lineup, bumping Garnet Hathaway to join Freddie Hamilton and Jyrki Jokipakka in the press box. On the blueline, the pairings from the second half of Monday’s game are staying together – at least to start the game – so let’s all pour out a bottle for Brett Kulak’s plus/minus as he’s joined by Dennis Wideman full-time.

If the Flames play a structured up-tempo game like they did in the first period of the Arizona game, they’ll be fine. If they get too fancy or press too much, like they seem to be doing every time they get down a goal or two, they’ll be in deep, deep trouble.

THE FLYERS

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Brayden SchennClaude GirouxWayne Simmonds
Jordan WealSean CouturierJakub Voracek
Michael RafflNick CousinsMatt Read
Chris VandeVeldePierre-Édouard BellemareDale Weise

Ivan ProvorovAndrew MacDonald
Mark StreitShayne Gostisbehere
Brandon ManningRadko Gudas

Michal Neuvirth starts for the Flyers. He’s 9-5-1 with a 2.67 goals against average and .897 save percentage. He’s one of the least-used backups in the league, but he’s honestly not a bad goalie and his lack of use is likely more because Steve Mason’s been dialed-in for much of the season.

The Flyers are without Travis Konecny and Michael Del Zotto due to injury. They beat San Jose on Saturday but have been idle since then (and a large contingent of Flyers execs took in the Flames/Coyotes game on Monday). Their win over San Jose snapped a three game losing skid, and the Flyers will be keen on staying in the win column as they try to gain ground in the jam-packed Eastern Conference. They’re in precisely the same situation as the Flames are. The team that’s more desperate and more structured will probably win.

THE NUMBERS

FLAMES FLYERS
Wins 28 27
Points
(Pct.)
59
(.518)
61
(.545)
Power Play 20.7% 20.8%
Penalty Kill 80.4% 80.6%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 50.7% 50.5%

HISTORY LESSON

This is the 116th regular season meeting between the Flames and the Flyers. The Flames have a 45-57-14 record head to head. The Flyers beat Calgary in November on the Flames’ eastern road trip when Anthony Stolarz got his first NHL win.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Some Flyers follows for y’all tonight:

SUM IT UP

The Flames laid an egg on Monday, but let’s give them a mulligan. Everybody has been bad coming off their bye week. They absolutely need to be engaged and on the ball from the get-go here, otherwise they stand to throw away another crucial pair of points in the Western Conference playoff race.