The Calgary Flames (1-1-0) have played about 30 minutes of strong hockey this season. That 30 minutes was good enough to demolish the Winnipeg Jets and get them back to .500. The Flames now face a pretty stiff test as they head to Anaheim to face the Ducks (1-0-1) at the Honda Center. The Ducks lost in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night and are a banged-up team hoping to get healthy and bank some points. In what’s expected to be an insanely competitive Pacific Division, a few stolen points in October and November can decide key playoff positions – or even if a team makes the playoffs at all. Curse or no curse, it’s an important game against a key divisional rival that could have huge standings implications both now and in the spring.
The puck drops at 8 p.m. MT. Catch the game on the radio on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and on Sportsnet Flames on your television machines.
Here are projected lines for the home side, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Bennett – Lazar
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Versteeg – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Glass – Stajan – Brouwer (A)
Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Bartkowski – Stone
Mike Smith makes his third start for the Flames, following a pair of pretty strong outings against Edmonton and Winnipeg. Eddie Lack dresses as backup, and Brett Kulak, Freddie Hamilton and Jaromir Jagr are the healthy scratches.
The three big questions surrounding this game are “Will Jaromir Jagr debut?”, “How will Jagr’s introduction change the Flames lines?” and “Can the Flames finally win in Anaheim?” The answers, at least from morning skate tweets, appear to be “No,” “He’s not playing,” and “Hopefully.” The Flames seem to be sticking with the lines that brought them two points against Winnipeg on Saturday, which might be the best bet on the road since it’ll be tough for Randy Carlyle to line-match against three lines that can score.
Here are Anaheim’s projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Cogliano (A) – Rakell – Perry (A)
Kase – Vermette – Silfverberg
Wagner – Rasmussen – Shaw
Fiore – Grant – Boll
Fowler (A) – Manson
Beauchemin – Montour
Holzer – Bieksa
John Gibson makes his third start of the season, backed up by former Flames backup Reto Berra – yes, he’s still in the NHL. Jaycob Megna is their lone “healthy” scratch and he’ll be joined by whoever is displaced by the return of Ryan Getzlaf to the lineup. Getzlaf has brutalized the Flames throughout his career, so his good health comes at a challenging time for the visitors.
Speaking of former Flames, Derek Grant is with the Ducks right now – in part because of their injury situation and in part because he’s a pretty decent fringe NHLer. If he dresses, keep an eye out for him on their fourth line.
Flames: Marek Hrivik (undisclosed) and Daniel Pribyl (knee) remain on the shelf.
Ducks: Anaheim is currently without *deep breath* Sami Vatanen (shoulder), Hampus Lindholm (shoulder), Ryan Kesler (hip), Patrick Eaves (lower-body), Ryan Miller (upper-body), Nick Ritchie (upper-body) and Ryan Getzlaf (upper-body). Getzlaf is likely to play tonight, while Vatanen, Lindholm, Eaves and Ritchie are all back skating.
When Last We Met
The Flames were swept by Anaheim in the playoffs (boo!) and lost four of five regular season meetings last season.
Know Thy Enemy
If you’re looking to beef up your Twitter experience, here’s a few Ducks accounts to check out:
Sum It Up
Two days after pulling one a very strong comeback win at home, the Flames head to their house of horrors hoping to finally, somehow eke out a victory.