Man, the Calgary Flames (14-11-1) were not particularly good on Saturday night. With a national audience watching, they were thumped for two periods by the Edmonton Oilers and then clawed back to a semi-respectable score by virtue of Edmonton having shaky goaltending. Tonight they get a chance to create some momentum for themselves when they host the Philadelphia Flyers (8-11-7), who have lost 10 games in a row and are beginning a three-game Western Canadian swing. It’s a shot for the Flames to get back to basics, focus on playing their game and avoiding the glare of the spotlight… at least, for now.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet West.
For a view from the other side, head on over to FlyersNation!
Projected lines for tonight, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Jagr
Hathaway – Lazar – Brouwer (A)
Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone
Mike Smith is back in the saddle after getting the mercy pull after 40 minutes against Edmonton. He gave up five goals on 27 shots but didn’t get very much help from the guys in front of him. He’s 12-8-1 with a 2.69 goals against average and a .920 save percentage, making his 24th start of the season. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The healthy scratches look to be Matt Bartkowski, Matt Stajan and Freddie Hamilton.
Since the Flames didn’t practice yesterday, it’s unclear if the team will make any lineup or system changes after the Edmonton debacle. The challenges the Flames face aren’t solely from deployments or line combinations, but seemingly more psychological.
Some positives? Johnny Gaudreau continues to score many points, and it seems like perhaps Mark Jankowski and Sam Bennett are turning a corner. Some negatives? My goodness, that power play looks utterly lost without Kris Versteeg.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Giroux (C) – Couturier – Voracek
Weal – Patrick – Simmonds (A)
Raffl – Filppula (A) – Konecny
Lehtera – Laughton – Weise
Provorov – MacDonald
Gostisbehere – Hagg
Sanheim – Manning
Brian Elliott starts for the Flyers. He’s 6-6-6 with a 2.98 goals against average and a .904 save percentage. He’s backed up by Michal Neuvirth. Radko Gudas is serving the 8th game of his suspension, while Mark Alt and Taylor Leier are the healthy scratches.
The Flyers have lost 10 games in a row, with their last win coming Nov. 9 against Chicago. (Granted, they’ve gotten five overtime losses since then.) What can you say? They’re a group that’s desperate for points. If this streak drags on much longer, head coach Dave Haskol may be looking for a new gig.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Kris Versteeg (hip) are on the injured reserve.
Philadelphia: The Flyers have no injuries.
When Last We Met
Way way back on Nov. 18 in Philadelphia, the Flyers lost to Calgary in overtime. Sean Monahan had a hat trick (with all three goals coming in the second period on the power play) and Michael Frolik scored in overtime.
Know Thy Enemy
Here are some Flyers folks who’ll tweet about the game tonight (probably):
Sum It Up
The Flames are looking for confidence and momentum. The Flyers would settle for a win. Expect two tight groups and a potentially clunky game tonight.
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