FGD 62: Fancy cats (5:30pm MT, SN West)


USATSI_9830644
(Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports)

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

Riding a four game point streak, the Calgary Flames are likely hoping to continue their momentum tonight as they head into South Florida to take on the fanciest team in the National Hockey League, the Florida Panthers.

The leading employer of Nation Networks alumni in the league, the Cats have gotten extremely hot of late as they’ve gotten healthy, found their stride and won a bunch of games. As a result, they’ve risen up the Eastern Conference standings and are now in the thick of the playoff picture. Coming off a win last night in Tampa Bay, the Flames are probably hoping they can keep cobbling together points as they attempt to return to the post-season.

The puck drops at 5:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

THE FLAMES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

 Matthew TkachukMikael BacklundMichael Frolik

Johnny GaudreauSean MonahanMicheal Ferland

Kris VersteegSam BennettTroy Brouwer

Lance BoumaMatt StajanAlex Chiasson

Mark GiordanoDougie Hamilton
 T.J. BrodieMichael Stone
Matt BartkowskiDeryk Engelland

It’s the final back-to-back scenario of the season, so the Flames are opting to start Chad Johnson since Brian Elliott was in last night. Johnson is 17-13-1 this season with a 2.55 goals against average and a  .912 save percentage. He might be extra keyed-in because net has functionally been given to Elliott due to the latter’s strong performances down the stretch.

There’s no skate today so we won’t get an idea of any possible changes until the warmup skate. Extras yesterday were Dennis Wideman, Jyrki Jokipakka and Freddie Hamilton. Based on the fact that there were no apparent injuries and that last night’s crew played pretty well, don’t anticipate any significant changes.

Last night the Flames scored scored their first power play goal after a five game dry spell, but they also allowed a power play goal for the second straight game. The team’s even strength play has had to carry them this month and it’s worked out rather nicely. The Flames are 6-2-1 so far in February and have conveniently gotten hot just as the bottom has fallen out of Los Angeles’ game.

The Flames head into tonight four points up on the Kings (who have a game in hand) for the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference.

THE PANTHERS

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Jonathan HuberdeauAleksander BarkovJaromir Jagr
Jussi JokinenVincent TrocheckReilly Smith
Michael SgarbossaNick BjugstadJonathan Marchessault
Shawn ThorntonDerek MacKenzieColton Sceviour

Keith YandleAaron Ekblad

Michael MathesonJason Demers
Mark PysykAlex Petrovic

It sounds like Roberto Luongo will start for the Fancy Cats. He’s 16-14-6 with a 2.69 goals against average and .915 save percentage. He’s been almost as sharp in net lately as the wit he’s shown on his Twitter.

The Panthers got hot right around the time Jonathan Huberdeau returned from injury. His unit with the ageless Jaromir Jagr and young Sasha Barkov has been superb over the past couple of weeks. They’ll be a tough match-up for Mikael Backlund and his trio tonight. Also keep an eye on full-grown, bearded youngster Aaron Ekblad, who has been rock-solid on the blueline.

THE NUMBERS

FLAMES PANTHERS
Wins 31 28
Points
(Pct.)
66
(.541)
66
(.559)
Power Play 19.9% 15.8%
Penalty Kill 80.8% 85.2%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 50.8% 50.9%

HISTORY LESSON

This is the 31st regular season meeting ever between Calgary and
Florida. The Flames are 16-9-5 thus far against the Panthers, with their latest victory coming in Calgary back in January.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Your Panthers follows for this evening:

SUM IT UP

The Flames have points in all three of their games on this five game road trip. All that matters right now is to keep cobbling together points. They need 22 points in 21 games to hit 88 points and probably clinch a playoff berth. All the can do is just keep cobbling with a win against the fancy cats.

  • cgyokgn

    Excellent: first they kill the penalty and then Brouwer scores… now has two points this game. Good to see the other lines contribute, not just the 3M and Monny line.

  • The Doctor

    Ok, I’m chalking the current score up to the fact that for much of the season, our shooting percentage has been below normal. At some point, it was mathematically destined to snap back . . .

  • everton fc

    Just looking at stats, seems Johnson’s settled in. Bartkowski and Engelland +2, goals by Bennett and Brouwer… Line combinations really working….

    Kings and Nashville both have tough games tomorrow. If we can just get one more goal and I’ve this one.

  • flamesburn89

    Really dumb decision by Brodie to dance around in front of his own net helped set up that flurry of Florida chances. Sometimes off the boards and out is the right play.

  • flamesburn89

    Well I guess the Flames will just ride Johnson for the rest of the night. Team started going into a shell with 15 minutes left in the 3rd. Johnson’s been excellent though.

  • Schmenkley

    I love this team!!!!!……….until they do something that makes me want to throw things at the tv…….buuuuuuut then they do something which makes me love them again…..which is okay, cause overall, the heart of this team is pretty young, and they seem to be getting better by the game, and as long as that continues I can live with the odd stinker like against Arizona……

    And although I have never been a huge fan of Backlund, that move against Matheson was…….ALL. WORLD!!!!!

    Those early season games against the hateful Oil, where the team collectively cleared out Walmart of adult Depends cause they were pooping the bed so much would be nice to have a do-over on now, wouldn’t they????

  • cgyokgn

    Really proud of the boys. They gutted it out on a back-to-back. Johnson was deservedly the first star. It was a multi-line effort, and players with long goalless streaks found the net.

    The 3M lines continues to be so consistent, with Backlund scoring yet another goal, just one back of Monny.

    I wasn’t able to watch the game, but looking at the stats, our new D were active with shots and hits. Stone had an assist, 3 shots and 4 hits! Bart was +2 with 1 shot, 2 hits and played 1:06 on the PK.

    Three game winning streak… let’s make it four vs Carolina!

  • freethe flames

    3-0 on this road trip against 3 teams that were pretty hot in their own rights. A nice team win with contributions from everyone. The D pairings seem to settling in but it will take time. The 1st PP unit still is frustrating.