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FGD 21: The Flames march on Ohio (5pm MT, SN360)

The Calgary Flames (12-8-0) are in the midst of their longest road trip of the season. They’re halfway through the trip and have won two of their three games. They can guarantee a .500 record on their trip with a win tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets (13-7-1). The Jackets have been hot lately, riding a four game winning streak and pushing for the Metropolitan Division lead. It’ll be a tough test for the Flames in a trip that’s full of them.

The puck drops at 5 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet 360.

The Flames

Here are tonight’s projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Jagr
Versteeg – F.Hamilton – Brouwer (A)

Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone

Mike Smith starts for the 19th time in 21 games. He’s 11-6-0 with a 2.61 goals against average and .922 save percentage. He’s backed up by Eddie Lack. The healthy scratches are Matt Bartkowski, Curtis Lazar and Matt Stajan. The elder Hamilton brother sticks around after slotting in against Washington.

Johnny Gaudreau has scored points in 10 consecutive games and scored goals in six consecutive games. He’s got the longest active scoring streak in the league – second longest by anybody this season – and he’s third in the NHL in scoring. He’s been Calgary’s best player and anchors a pretty strong top six that’s been performing rather well lately.

The Flames power play scored twice against Washington and has scored goals in four consecutive games. Their penalty kill shut down Washington entirely, running the table for the first time since Nov. 5 against New Jersey. They’re still dead-last percentage-wise in the NHL, but they’re making some (minor) progress.

The Blue Jackets

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Jenner (A) – Dubinsky – Atkinson
Panarin – Dubois – Anderson
Milano – Foligno (C) – Bjorkstrand
Motte – Sedlak – Schroeder

Werenski – Jones
Johnson (A) – Carlsson
Murray – Nutivaara

Sergei Bobrovsky starts for Columbus. He’s 12-4-1 with a 2.02 goals againt average and .933 save percentage. He’s backed up by Joonas Korpisalo. The healthy scratches are Scott Harrington, Marcus Hannikainen and Alexander Wennberg. Lukas Sedlak returns to action after being out with an illness.

The Blue Jackets are a strong possession team with a pretty strong lineup, coached by old Flames nemesis John Tortorella. The Flames will need to be at the top of their game if they want to capture some points tonight.

Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) is on the injured reserve.

Columbus: Matt Calvert (upper-body) is on the injured reserve.

When Last We Met

This is the first of two meetings between these teams in 2017-18. Last season, they split their two meetings with the road team winning each game: Columbus won 4-1 in Calgary and the Flames beat them 2-0 in Columbus.

The Numbers

CGY CBJ
Wins 12 13
Points 24 27
Adjusted Corsi 51.7% 53.0%
Power Play 21.9% 10.3%
Penalty Kill 71.8% 83.3%

Know Thy Enemy

Check out these Blue Jackets-related accounts tonight!

Sum It Up

The Flames can guarantee a .500 record on a lengthy road trip – and set the table, potentially, for a winning record. Columbus is a legitimately good team, but the Flames have played up to their competition this season at times. If they can do that again, they could capture two more points against an Eastern Conference foe.

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  • The Doctor

    I honestly don’t think it’s fair to lay this loss at Brodie’s feet. The whole team, except for Smith, played pretty badly. We were lucky to get the loser point. I agree with Scary Gary, I wish I had a dollar for every stupid, unnecessary turnover we made. We were way too rushed with our passes. Our guys need to take that extra split second before they pass to make sure the pass is on the teammate’s stick and that they’re not throwing it into a dangerous area. We made some passes into the middle of the ice tonight that were totally idiotic. Furthermore, the shot blocks by Columbus: our Dmen in particular were guilty of shooting the puck right into Columbus players when anyone with a brain could see the shot block coming from a mile away. That’s part of the reason our shot total was so low.

    • Torchy

      Come on man…if that had been Bartkowski, half y’all would be threatening to drive through the night to Ohio to kick him in the groin and steal Gulutzan’s hair gel

        • Torchy

          Drawing a line between a mistake vs a stupid decision is a good way to look at this sort of thing. While my comment doesnt give you any good reason to think so, I don’t actually mean to pile on Brodie. Humans make mistakes and that’s OK, I am sure he’ll be just fine.

          I will admit that the “lose as a team” concept is a sore spot that will instantly get me aggravated. I have seen this tool used far too many times by disingenuous teammates in work & sport, so you’ll have to pardon my cynical response on your comment. I hope the Flames are becoming the sort of team that really does have the trust and mutual respect to “lose as a team”, even in days when they give up a 2 on 0 a foot from the crease!

  • Off the wall

    Smith stands on his head again.
    What a game by him.
    Jackets out shoot us 2-1.
    We were lucky to get to OT

    Brodie must be using to much wax on his stick… yikes

  • Thunder1

    The crowd in Colombia was okay for a Thanksgiving long weekend evening, but they were more than half empty in Detroit and Florida. The league is not healthy.

    • Walt Whitman

      It is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, not exactly the weekend yet. It’s more of a case where for most employed the work week was incredibly busy/super compact because of the shortened week, then there’s Wednesday afternoon where most people want to get the heck out of Dodge or are too tired to do anything the evening before Thanksgiving. Many are actually preparing for the next evening’s events. You’re more likely to see active fans throughout the weekend starting from Friday, however the NHL is then competing with both concussion-ball/hand-egg and jump-hoop, both on the professional and amateur level.

    • Derzie

      Been that way all season. Most televised games show a LOT of empty seats. Of course the lower bowls are season tickets and bought and paid for but if people can’t bother to show up, the product is lacking. I blame parity. Standings are too tight.

    • The Penn

      Hopefully they learned something from this game . And start to play the way the jackets did .It’s a good example of what they need to do to be truly successful.