It’s the first set of back-to-back games for the Calgary Flames this year, and the second game is coming at a good time. The Flames (3-2-0) were basically two different teams against Ottawa on Friday night: one that got a lot of offensive zone time in the first half of the game but couldn’t bury chances, and then one that was bad at a lot of aspects of the game of hockey. They’re probably mad at themselves, and they get a shot at redemption against Vancouver (1-1-1), a team they usually find some emotion while playing. With four days off after this, expect the Flames to drain the tank (so to speak) and battle harder than they have recently.
The puck drops just after 8 p.m. MT and it’s on Sportsnet 960 The Fan (radio) and City TV and Sportsnet One (moving picture box).
Here are last night’s lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Lazar
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Versteeg – Bennett – Jagr
Ferland – Stajan – Brouwer (A)
Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Bartkowski – Stone
There’s no morning skate, so we’re left with guesswork for tonight’s lines and lineup. The 960 post-game show (hosted by Pat Steinberg) had a good point regarding tonight’s goaltender: the Flames have four days off and so the downside of going back to Mike Smith is a lot less than it would be otherwise. We saw Eddie Lack last night. He was fine. But if the idea is the Flames are going to have a bounce-back game, they might need to go back to their top guy and save Lack’s first start for another time.
Update: Yep, Smith starts.
Smith starts again for the #Flames tonight.
— Kristen Odland (@Kristen_Odland) October 14, 2017
Other updates from the Gulutzan availability: Freddie Hamilton comes in (but no word on who comes out, aside from it won’t be Jagr) and there will be no changes to the defensive group tonight.
Let’s just hope they can stay out of the box, because seven power plays handed a ton of momentum to the Senators and completely frittered away the positives the Flames gained from all that first period zone time.
Update from warm-up: Ferland and Stajan OUT, F.Hamilton and Glass IN.
Here are Vancouver’s projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Sedin – A Different Sedin – Vanek
Baertschi – Horvat – Boeser
Granlund – Burmistrov – Eriksson
Gagner – Sutter – Dorsett
del Zotto – Gudbranson
Pouliot – Tanev
Hutton – Stecher
Jacob Markstrom is expected to start for the Canucks. He’s been arguably the best Canucks player so far this season. Jake Virtanen sits as Alexander Burmistrov slots in, and Derrick Pouliot comes in for the injured Alexander Edler.
The Canucks are an odd group, in that they’re in that weird “retooling on the fly” grey area that the Flames were in during the Jay Feaster years. They have a lot of good pieces, though, including Brock Boeser – who brutalized the Flames during the preseason.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) is on the injured reserve.
Vancouver: Alexander Edler (knee) and Brendan Gaunce (shoulder) are out.
When Last We Met
Wanna know why the Flames almost didn’t make the playoffs last year? Well, they lost three games to Vancouver, going 2-1-2 overall. Oddly enough, the Flames lost every single game they played in Vancouver: two of them in overtime.
Know Thy Enemy
Check out these Canucks-related Twitter accounts. (Beware, though, they’ll probably tweet about the Canucks.)
Sum It Up
The Flames have a chance to bounce back from a poor outing last night when they take on arguably their most bitter rival. Hopefully they find some way to channel their emotions, as well as some way to play with better defensive zone structure.