FGD 63: Storm warning (1pm MT, SN West)


USATSI_9860365
(Adam Hunger / USA Today Sports)

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

The Calgary Flames polish off their five-game road trip with a rare matinee game today in scenic Raleigh, North Carolina against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Flames are one of the hottest teams in the entire National Hockey League right now and they chose a wonderful time of year to get their act together. They have 20 games to go and a four point cushion on the Los Angeles Kings, who have a game in hand.

For the Flames to make the playoffs, all they have to do is keep pace with the Kings from here on out. It helps that the Flames have an easier schedule, no back-to-backs left, and play the Kings four times in their last 20 games. They truly are masters of their own destiny, and can nudge slightly closer to the Stanley Cup playoffs with a victory against Carolina.

The puck drops at 1 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

Continuing one of the best stretches he’s had since becoming a Flame, Brian Elliott makes his 30th start of the season this afternoon. He’s 14-13-3 with a 2.81 goals against average and a .896 save percentage. He’s been very good since February began, going 5-1-1 with a 2.59 goals against average and a .907 save percentage.

The Flames are 7-2-1 in February and are riding a three game winning streak. They’ve earned points in five consecutive games and playing well enough offensively and defensively to win. They have yet to really run anybody’s show this month, but they’ve gotten goals when they’ve needed them and saves when they’ve needed them and it’s been enough this month for them to succeed. I’m sure they’d love to cap off this trip with a strong performance against the Hurricanes.

I wouldn’t expect any changes to their line-up given their circumstances.

THE HURRICANES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Sebastian AhoVictor RaskElias Lindholm
Joakim NordstromJordan StaalPhil Di Giuseppe
Jeff SkinnerTeuvo TeravainenLee Stempniak
Derek RyanJay McClementViktor Stalberg

Jaccob SlavinJustin Faulk
Noah HanifinBrett Pesce
Klas DahlbeckRyan Murphy

Eddie Lack starts for the Hurricanes today. He’s 2-3-1 with a 3.26 goals against average and a .884 save percentage. I think it’s safe to say that he’s had a disappointing season, between his shoddy play and his injury troubles. Like the rest of his team, Lack is probably hoping to have a good finish to the year so he has something to build off of in the fall.

The Hurricanes beat Ottawa on Friday night, snapping a five game losing skid. During that stretch, Carolina was shut out twice and scored four goals during that entire span. They’ve had all sorts of problems this season and are one of the few Eastern Conference teams well out of the playoff picture. They remain without Brock McGinn due to injury, but are otherwise reasonably healthy.

THE NUMBERS

FLAMES HURRICANES
Wins 32 25
Points
(Pct.)
68
(.548)
58
(.509)
Power Play 19.8% 16.6%
Penalty Kill 80.6% 86.5%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 50.8% 51.6%

HISTORY LESSON

The Flames and Hurricanes are relocation buddies; the Flames escaped Atlanta while the Hurricanes migrated from scenic Hartford. All-time, the Flames are 42-20-8 against Carolina/Hartford. The Flames lost to Carolina at home back in October.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Here are some Carolina-related accounts to follow for tonight:

    SUM IT UP

    The Flames can make their playoff hopes a lot clearer (and their lives a lot easier) with one more strong performance on this trip. They probably need 88 points to punch their ticket to post-April 8 hockey. They can hit the 70 point mark with a victory in Carolina and make their road to the playoffs a lot less bumpy.