FGD 32: Fishing with dynamite (7pm MT, SN Flames)

After an arduous one game road trip that spanned the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Calgary Flames (16-12-3) are back at home for a couple games at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames begin a stretch of three games in four nights (all against Western Conference foes) when they host the San Jose Sharks (16-10-3). The Flames have points in four games in a row, but they’ve played three overtime games in that span and eventually playing that much high-leverage hockey will tire ’em out. It sure would be nice, for their stamina and the hearts and minds of fans, if they could win a game handily in regulation for a change.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet Flames. If you’re coming to the game, two notes: (1) Please bring a toy for the Flames Better Halves toy drive and (2) there will be free Tim Hortons beverages to celebrate that beverage retailer returning to the Saddledome after an absence of a few seasons. There will also be a hockey game.

The Flames

Projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Hathaway
Brouwer (A) – Stajan – Lazar

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

Mike Smith starts for the 28th time this season. He’s 13-9-3 with a 2.61 goals against average and a .919 save percentage. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The scratches are Matt Bartkowski and Freddie Hamilton. No Jaromir Jagr once again due to a nagging lower-body injury, though he’s back participating in practices.

The good news? The Flames have allowed just two power play goals since December began. The bad news? They’ve also only scored two power play goals since December began. Considering that Johnny Gaudreau has so many points – 38 in 31 games – and he’s such a big part of the team’s success at even strength (and in overtime), it’s a bit incredible that the PP is so bad.

The Sharks

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Karlsson – Thornton (A) – Pavelski (C)
Hertl – Couture (A) – Labanc
Meier – Tierney – Donskoi
Hansen – Sorensen – O’Regan

Dillon – Burns
Vlasic – Braun
DeMelo – Heed

Airdrie native Aaron Dell starts for the Sharks. He’s 5-3-1 with a 1.72 goals against average and a .939 save percentage. He’s one of the best backups in the NHL. He’s backed up by Calgary Hitmen alumnus Martin Jones. Joakim Ryan and Joel Ward are the Sharks healthy scratches.

The Sharks are a pretty good defensive team that’s also been the recipient of some great goaltending – they’re second in the league in goals against average. They haven’t gotten a ton of offense this season, and if you look at their lines they thin out pretty quickly after their top six, but it’s been good enough for them so far.

Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Kris Versteeg (hip) are on the injured reserve. Jaromir Jagr (lower-body) is day-to-day.

San Jose: Mikkel Boedker (undisclosed) and Barclay Goodrow (lower-body) are on the IR. Paul Martin is with the Sharks’ AHL team (also in San Jose) on a conditioning stint.

When Last We Met

This is the first of four games between these clubs this season. They played five times last season, with the Flames winning three out of five.

The Numbers

Wins 16 16
Points 35 35
Adjusted Corsi 52.3% 53.0%
Power Play 18.9% 19.6%
Penalty Kill 77.0% 86.6%

Know Thy Enemy

Check out these folks for sweet, sweet Sharks tweets:

Sum It Up

The Flames kick off another busy stretch with a game against a divisional opponent! Once again, they could sure use the points.


Let’s show Vegas something they’ve never seen before—Alberta hockey fans.

Enter the Vegas Breakaway for a chance to win a trip for two to Las Vegas and tickets to a Golden Knights game. Enter to win at atb.com/vegas

  • class1div1

    Way to fire up your team coach.Guess we’ll hear more of the same about how tired they are and the brutal schedule and how they need to relax.When the radio crew asked a Shark player after the game about the heavy schedule and how they adapt,he replied.”You cant let it be an issue”You come to play every night.

  • Alberta Ice

    The good news. We remain 7 points ahead of the Oilers. The bad news. We are now 2 points out of a wildcard and slipping away. (Listened to the Flames game on the radio while I watched the Predators beat Edmonton on Sportsnet.
    My two cent Stanley Cup prediction – unless the Predators have injuries, they look like the team deep enough to go all the way especially with the addition of Kyle Turris. They have the best defense in the NHL.

    • aye

      The Flames may have a few more points than the oilers, but hate to say it they are not any better right now. There are way too many similarities between the 2 teams, stubborn coaches with baffling player usages, both fan base calling for coaching changes, bad PK and PP, inability to win at home, can’t score against the other teams backup goalie, finding ways to not only lose games, but lose points …

      Also, Smith hasn’t been spectacular for a while now, hasn’t been bad, but giving up rebounds and swimming in the crease quite a bit. Defense has been a lot better, but he doesn’t seem as comfortable last few games, maybe he is just better when facing more shots.

  • Stajanforadirtyboot

    Did not get to watch this one due to being at the rink with the boy. Only caught last 5 minutes and it was disappointing to see that one slip away. Missed Penalty….perhaps. I thought the play looked offside but I’m guessing if it was the Flames video coach would have caught it. Anyways…..the PP….boo