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Photo Credit: Bob DeChiari / USA Today Sports

FGD 70: The Home Stretch (7pm MT, SN West)

The Calgary Flames have won 10 games in a row. It’s strange to type (and probably weirder to read), but it’s an indisputable fact. The Flames tied their franchise record for wins with a thrilling 4-3 shootout win on Monday night over the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins. They’ll need to play a similarly impressive game tonight if they want to turn it up to 11 against the surging Boston Bruins.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Brian Elliott is sick and won’t play tonight, so as of right now Chad Johnson is expected to get the start (his first since beating Florida a few weeks back). He’s 18-13-1 with a 2.54 goals against average and .913 save percentage this year. He was tremendous in November and has been merely “quite good” since then. In theory Elliott will dress as the backup, though there’s always the possibility that a body gets ferried up from Stockton to dress in his place. (It would be an emergency recall and wouldn’t count against the four recall limit.)

There may be a few tweaks to the lineup depending on a potential injury. Matthew Tkachuk didn’t skate this morning and indications from the locker room are that Curtis Lazar and Freddie Hamilton are on stand-by. Glen Gulutzan termed Tkachuk a game-time decision with a lower body injury. Michael Stone skated with Rasmus Andersson on a fourth pairing this morning and seems to be nearing a return, though not tonight. Former Bruin Dougie Hamilton will play, and will probably be motivated to do Dougie Hamilton things against a team that traded him away two seasons ago.

The 3M Line had arguably their worst game of the season on Monday, lining up against Sidney Crosby’s line and occasionally getting hemmed into their own end and looking silly. They’ll likely see Patrice Bergeron a ton tonight, so be prepared for a Selke showdown between Bergeron and Mikael Backlund. And Brad Marchand against Matthew Tkachuk. This could be fun. If Tkachuk plays.

Update: Based on warm-ups, don’t expect any changes to the Flames’ lineup aside from Jon Gillies dressing as backup in Elliott’s stead.

THE BRUINS

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

It’s the first game of a back-to-back (they’re in Edmonton tomorrow), so Boston trots out backup Anton Khudobin tonight. He’s 4-5-1 with a 2.79 goals against average and a .895 save percentage. He’s not amazing, but he’s also a pretty capable goaltender on most nights. He’s just not in the same league as Tuukka Rask.

The Bruins have won seven of their last 10 games. In fact, if you look back to January 26 – Calgary’s win over Ottawa – Boston has gone 13-5-0, as compared to Calgary’s 15-2-1. They’re not quite white-hot, but they’ve been really, really good of late.

Keep an eye on Brad Marchand. He’s tied for third in league scoring; tied with Sidney Crosby but behind Patrick Kane and Connor McDavid. Beyond Marchand and David Pastrnak, the Bruins have similar scoring depth as Calgary does. Boston has five players with 40+ points, while the Flames have six.

THE NUMBERS

FLAMES BRUINS
Wins 39 37
Points
(Pct.)
82
(.594)
80
(.580)
Power Play 20.2% 20.5%
Penalty Kill 80.8% 86.2%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 50.9% 55.6%

HISTORY LESSON

This is the 105th regular season game between Boston and the Flames. All-time, the Flames have struggled against the Bruins: they are 37-57-10, their worst record against any NHL franchise. The Flames beat Boston back in November.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Some Bruins follows for y’all tonight:

MAGIC NUMBERS

The Flames enter tonight’s game with a magic number of 9 (following Los Angeles’ shootout loss to Arizona last night). Any combination of 9 Flames wins or Kings losses clinches a playoff berth.

SUM IT UP

The Flames can set a new franchise record for consecutive wins tonight! And inch closer to cementing their post-season status!

  • Newbietwo

    First of it is extremely painful watching Wideman skate.. it looks like he’s skating pulling a barrel of oil.. second we still have a few boat anchors specifically Brouwer and Engelland.. love you Engs but your feet are dragging nowadays.. I feel the flames should have Kulak or someone with speed on the third d pairing at the very least.. oh and Johnson buddy cmon what the he was that