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FGD 22: Stars, our destination (7pm MT, SN Flames)

The Calgary Flames (12-8-1) are almost finished with their longest road trip of the year. Four games into their six game jaunt through much of the eastern United States, they’ve gone 2-1-1 thus far. They can guarantee a winning record with a good showing against the Dallas Stars (11-10-1), who they visit in the first half of a back-to-back set that will see them play in Denver on Saturday night.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet Flames. (Sportsnet West will join the game in progress once the Edmonton/Buffalo game ends.)

The Flames

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

Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Jagr
Versteeg – Lazar – Brouwer (A)

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

Mike Smith makes his 20th start of the season. He’s 12-6-1 with a 2.52 goals against average and .925 save percentage. He’ll be backed up by David Rittich. The healthy scratches are Matt Bartkowski, Matt Stajan and Freddie Hamilton. Sam Bennett was demoted to the fourth line for half of the Columbus game, but the presumption right now is he’ll be back on the third line (at least to start the game). Curtis Lazar slots back in after sitting for a couple games.

The Flames were in an unfamiliar spot on Wednesday: they couldn’t score. That’s coming after a stretch where they lit the lamp with regularity, bolstered by some strong performances from their top six forwards – particularly that Johnny Gaudreau kid. They’ll hopefully be able to continue that after being shut out by Columbus.

The Stars

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Shore – Benn (C) – Radulov (A)
Janmark – Seguin – Spezza (A)
Roussel – Faksa – Pitlick
Smith – Hanzal – Ritchie

Lindell – Klingberg
Hamhuis – Pateryn
Oleksiak – Johns

Ben Bishop starts for Dallas. He’s 9-7-0 with a 2.69 goals against average and .908 save percentage. Kari Lehtonen backs him up, returning after missing a bit of time tending to personal matters.  Julius Honka and Remi Elie. Martin Hanzal returns after missing a bit of time with a hand injury. Between injuries and other things, the Stars have been shuffling bodies up and down from the nearby Texas Stars (of the AHL) to maximize their cap space. They have about $600,000 to last them until the end of the season, which is one of the reasons they’re only carrying 22 players right now.

The Stars are better than they were a year ago, but they’ve been in a win one (or two), lose one (or two) pattern for much of the season. They’re a smart, structured team when they’re on their game, but they’ve struggled with scoring and consistency.

Injury Report

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

Dallas: Mark Methot (knee) is on the injured reserve. Kari Lehtonen is away from the team for personal reasons and is listed as “non-roster.”

When Last We Met

The Flames lost to Dallas in the opening game of their lengthy seven-game homestand back in October. They lost a close one by a 2-1 score.

The Numbers

CGY DAL
Wins 12 11
Points 25 23
Adjusted Corsi 51.4% 52.0%
Power Play 21.6% 25.4%
Penalty Kill 72.6% 83.8%

Know Thy Enemy

Check out these Stars-centric accounts:

Sum It Up

The Flames have been playing rather well and get a chance to avenge a previous loss with a good showing in Dallas. A win guarantees they return home with a winning record on their lengthy road trip.

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