After four days away from game action, the Calgary Flames (4-2-0) are back at it at the Scotiabank Saddledome. They’ll play host to the Carolina Hurricanes (2-1-1), who have been idle since beating the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. It’s a battle of relocated teams and a chance for the Flames to capture some bonus points from an Eastern Conference opponent. After four days off, let’s just hope the Flames haven’t forgotten their intensity.
The puck drops just after 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet Flames.
Here are tonight’s projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Jagr
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Versteeg – Bennett – Ferland
Glass – Stajan – Brouwer (A)
Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Bartkowski – Stone
Mike Smith gets the start, having started the six previous Flames contests – he’s backed up by former Carolina goalie Eddie Lack, who gets to watch Smith play against both of his old teams. The extra healthy bodies are Brett Kulak, Freddie Hamilton and Curtis Lazar.
The Flames seem to do two things well: take penalties and get good goaltending. One of those things might change soon, so hopefully they can rein in some of the rough parts of their game. They’re giving up way too many shots, partially a product of their march to the sin bin, and it seems likely that eventually the dam will burst and Smith won’t be able to stand on his head.
Unrelated note: did you notice that Johnny Gaudreau has nine points already? He’s averaging just shy of an even-strength point per game and he hasn’t really had a showy, “gosh, did you see what the little guy did?” kind of game yet.
Here are Carolina’s projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Teravainen – Staal – Williams
Aho – Rask – Lindholm
Skinner – Ryan – McGinn
Nordstrom – Kruger – Kuokkonen
Slavin – Pesce
Hanifin – Faulk
Fleury – Van Riemsdyk**
Scott Darling starts for Carolina, backed up by Cam Ward. Klas Dahlbeck, Josh Jooris and Martin Necas are the healthy scratches. For those of you liking local stories, feast your eyes on former Flame Josh Jooris (in the press box) and former Hitmen Victor Rask. Trevor Carrick was sent down to the AHL yesterday, which is a good sign that Van Riemsdyk could return from injury tonight (according to Chip Alexander).
Expectations, much like attendance, are low for Carolina these days. But what they lack in star power they make up for in talent and hard work. They out-classed Edmonton on Tuesday night and are poised to be a hard out for a Flames club that still needs to tidy up their game.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) is on the injured reserve.
Carolina: Lee Stempniak and Trevor van Riemsdyk are out, though van Reimsdyk could be activated as early as tonight if medically cleared.
When Last We Met
The Flames split a pair of games with Carolina last season. The home team lost each game, oddly enough.
Know Thy Enemy
Some Canes follows for tonight’s game:
Sum It Up
The Flames are coming off a four day break. Let’s hope they didn’t relax too much.