The Calgary Flames (4-3-0) are over .500 despite not playing particularly well over the past seven games. They’re given a pretty good chance to get their game back on track tonight when they host the Minnesota Wild (1-2-2) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Wild are a pretty beaten-up team of late, missing a few key faces, and they’re on the back end of a back-to-back after losing 4-3 in Winnipeg last night.
The game kicks off at 8 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and CBC.
Here are tonight’s projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Jagr
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Versteeg – Bennett – Lazar
Ferland – F.Hamilton – Brouwer (A)
Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone
Mike Smith starts for the Flames once again, which makes sense given he’s been their best player this season. Out tonight are Matt Bartkowski, Matt Stajan and Tanner Glass – all healthy scratches. Kulak makes his 2017-18 debut tonight and can probably stay in for awhile with a strong game. Yesterday’s practice lines had Ferland on the fourth line with Stajan and Lazar playing on the third line so that’s the presumption we’re making right now. We’ll update after warm-up.
Keys to victory for the Flames tonight, and they’re connected: cleaner breakouts and fewer penalties. If the Flames can exit their zone with ease, or at least less difficulty, and create some scoring chances with speed through the neutral zone they should be able to beat a team that played last night. And keep an eye on that top line, as they were buzzing last night. Did you realize Johnny Gaudreau has 10 points already?!
Minnesota isn’t skating this morning, so here are yesterday’s lines via Daily Faceoff:
Zucker – Koivu – Stewart
Foligno – Staal – Ferraro
Ennis – Cullen – Kunin
Mitchell – Eriksson Ek – Winnik
Suter – Spurgeon
Brodin – Dumba
Quincey – Reilly
After Devan Dubnyk started yesterday and lost, facing 30 shots, Alex Stalock starts for the Wild tonight. Last night’s scratches were Zack Parise (injured), Mikael Granlund (injured) and Gustav Olofsson. Granlund was a game-time decision last night and it sounds like he and Landon Ferraro are out tonight (per Mike Russo) with the Wild going with seven defenders and 11 forwards.
Minnesota’s won once this season, but all of their games have been close in spite of their injuries. They’re a well-coached, well-structured team, and when Dubnyk’s on his game they have a chance to win every night. Coming off a close loss in Winnipeg, they’ll be a motivated bunch.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) is on the injured reserve.
Minnesota: Zack Parise (back) and Mikael Granlund (groin) are both injured but on the active roster. Granlund was a game-time decision yesterday in Winnipeg but wasn’t ready to go. Players on the injured reserve include Nino Neiterreiter (ankle) and Charlie Coyle (lower-body).
When Last We Met
The Flames beat Minnesota in all three meetings last season. Their last meeting was a 5-1 Flames victory in Calgary.
Know Thy Enemy
Check out some Wild accounts to spice up tonight’s Twitter experience:
Sum It Up
The Flames have a good chance to get their act together against a tired, beaten-up team. It won’t be easy, so they better make sure they work for 60 minutes and execute better than they did against Carolina.