The Calgary Flames played a game on Wednesday night in Detroit. That is to say, they intended to. Unfortunately, virtually every aspect of their game was lousy: their defense was shoddy, Eddie Lack didn’t make it to the halfway point of the game, they couldn’t muster more than two goals (one at even strength) and the game devolved into the kind of clown show lunacy that gets the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety involved afterwards. The Flames (10-8-0) attempt to take a mulligan this morning as they face the Philadelphia Flyers (8-8-3) in a rare late morning affair. They’ll need to be better in basically everything they do if they hope for a better result than the debacle in Detroit.
The puck drops at 11 a.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet One.
Here are tonight’s projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Frolik – Backlund – Brouwer (A)
Bennett – Jankowski – Jagr
Versteeg – Stajan – Lazar
Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone
Mike Smith is back, so the Flames made no other changes. (Matt Bartkowski and Freddie Hamilton are the healthy scratches.) Granted, Smith’s been superb in net – posting a 9-6-0 record with a 2.56 goals against average and .921 save percentage. The team seems to play with a ton of confidence when he’s in net, a drastic departure from how tight and nervous they look with Eddie Lack in net. But it’s also a bit concerning that after arguably their worst performance under Glen Gulutzan, the solution is “Oh, just put Smith back in net and everything will be fine.” That said, because Matthew Tkachuk serves his one-game suspension for poking Luke Witkowski in the leg on Wednesday we’ll get slightly different lines and perhaps allow the team to reset a bit.
Based on the lines posted on the Flames site, the first and third lines stay intact and Troy Brouwer gets a whirl with the Backlund/Frolik dynamic duo. That said, I’d expect to see a few bodies potentially rotate through that spot depending how the game goes. (Maybe Versteeg or Lazar could get a look-see during the game.)
Johnny Gaudreau comes into the game with an eight-game point streak, during which he’s amassed six goals and 14 points. Aside from Smith, he’s been the team’s best player this season and currently sits near the top of the league’s scoring race with eight goals and 26 points. Linemate Micheal Ferland has goals in five consecutive games, as well.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Giroux (C) – Couturier – Voracek
Weise – Weal – Simmonds (A)
Filppula (A) – Patrick – Konecny
Leier – Laughton – Raffl
Provorov – Hagg
Gostisbehere – Manning
Sanheim – Alt
Former Flames goaltender Brian Elliott gets the start for the Flyers, despite being in net for their 3-2 shootout loss in Winnipeg on Thursday. He’s 6-5-2 with a 2.53 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. He’s backed up by Michal Neuvirth. Jori Lehtera and Matt Read are the extra healthy bodies. The Flyers are expected to be without Radko Gudas, who’s waiting for an in-person hearing for a pretty brutal slash against Winnipeg and Mark Alt probably slots in.
If you’re a person that loves prospects or the Western Hockey League, the Flyers are your team! Former Calgary Hitmen D Travis Sanheim plays the Flames for the first time, as does 2017 second overall selection Nolan Patrick. And Ivan Provorov anchors a pretty decent young Flyers defense.
Update: No Jordan Weal for the Flyers due to an upper-body injury, so expect some line shuffling for the home side.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) is on the injured reserve.
Philadelphia: Andrew MacDonald (knee) is on the injured reserve.
When Last We Met
Calgary and Philadelphia split their two meetings last season, with each team winning at home. The Flyers beat Calgary 5-3 in Philly, while the Flames won 3-1 in Calgary.
Know Thy Enemy
These fine individuals will have some Flyers tweets this afternoon:
Sum It Up
The Flames were really bad on Wednesday in Detroit. They get a do-over today in Philadelphia, but let’s hope they show a bit more fire and structure in their game than they had a few days ago.
FGD BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE PINT
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