The Calgary Flames (5-5-0) are back from their modest two-game road trip that took them to Nashville and St. Louis. They managed a split, which is about right given how they played – well at even strength and a bit more poorly on special teams. They’re back at home hosting the Dallas Stars (5-5-0), a pretty good team that – fortunately for the Flames – played and lost in Edmonton last night. As far as chances to tidy things up go, playing a good, tired team may be the best case scenario as the Flames kick off their longest homestand of the season.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet 360.
Here are tonight’s projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Versteeg
Glass – Stajan – Brouwer (A)
Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Bartkowski – Stone
Mike Smith is back in the net for his 10th start of the year after working the gate as Eddie Lack’s backup on Wednesday night. The healthy scratches are Brett Kulak, Freddie Hamilton and Curtis Lazar.
It’s the first regular season game in Calgary for 2012 first round selection Mark Jankowski, who may have become a fully-fledged NHLer on the road trip. Granted, Glen Gulutzan was smart enough to shelter Jankowski and set him up for success, but Jankowski was the best possession player on the team over the last week. Aside from getting on the scoresheet, it’s hard to imagine how he could’ve done better over the last two games.
The key to victory tonight? Stay outta the box. Failing that, defending intelligently and pressuring the opposition power play as they enter the zone would be something the Flames haven’t done in awhile.
Lines from Dallas’ game last night via Daily Faceoff:
Benn (C) – Seguin – Ritchie
Roussel – Hanzal – Spezza (A)
Shore – Janmark – Radulov (A)
Elie – Faksa – Pitlick
Methot – Klingberg
Hamhuis – Pateryn
Oleksiak – Lindell
After Ben Bishop started last night, sounds like Kari Lehtonen goes for Dallas tonight. The extras last night were Gemel Smith and Julius Honka. Dallas isn’t skating, so we’ll update if there are any changes reported.
The Stars are a possession monster so far this season, but just haven’t been able to string together enough consistent play to win more often. That said, Ken Hitchcock has them all moving in the right direction, so an offensive barrage may be just around the corner. I mean, they scored three power play goals last night; they’re worth taking seriously for the gents in red tonight.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Jaromir Jagr (lower-body) are on the injured reserve.
Dallas: Stephen Johns (concussion symptoms) is on the active roster but out.
When Last We Met
Calgary and Dallas met three times last season. The Flames won two outta three, including their last meeting on St. Patrick’s Day in Calgary – which they won 3-1.
Know Thy Enemy
Check out these Stars-centric accounts:
Sum It Up
It’s the first game of a season-high seven game homestand! And following that, because the NHL’s scheduling robot was programmed for humour, is a six game road trip.