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Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 44: Visiting the fancy cats (5:30pm MT, SN Flames)

The Calgary Flames (23-16-4) are halfway through their four-game road trip and have two wins already. They’re hoping to continue their winning ways tonight when they face the Florida Panthers (18-18-6). It’s the second half of a back-to-back stretch for the Flames, but it’s also coming at a time where the Flames can probably see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel with their CBA-mandated break looming.

The puck drops just after 5:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet Flames and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

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

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

After Mike Smith faced 34 shots last night, David Rittich starts for the Flames. It’s his fifth start of the season, all of which have been either the front (one) or back (four) end of a back-to-back. That’s what he’s here for. He’s 3-1-1 with a 2.04 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. The healthy scratches are Matt Bartkowski and Marek Hrivik, as Glen Gulutzan has decided to roll with the same lineup that’s won five in a row. Jaromir Jagr remains day-to-day with injury.

Believe it or not, the Flames have won five games in a row. Four of those games were very close, while last night’s 5-1 win over Tampa Bay was closer than the score would indicate. They have just two games left before their CBA-mandated break, and they could hit the break with some momentum if they keep winning.

The Flames’ special teams have been an area of concern this season, but they allowed zero power play goals and scored one last night en route to a victory. Just imagine if that could become a regular occurrence.

The Panthers

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Huberdeau – Barkov – Dadanov
McGinn – Trocheck – Bjugstad
Brickley – Malgin – Vrbata
Haley – McKenzie – Sceviour

Matheson – Ekblad
Yandle – Pysyk
Weegar – Petrovic

James Reimer starts for the Panthers. He’s 12-11-5 with a 3.04 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. He’s backed up by Harri Sateri. The healthy scratches are Ian McCoshen and Jared McCann.

The Panthers are coming off a 7-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, but that’s coming off a stretch where they kicked off 2018 with three losses. They’re a team that lacks the energy of previous incarnations of the Cats, and they’re relying on a handful of players to drive the bus rather than their old group mentality.

Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee), Kris Versteeg (hip) and Michael Frolik (jaw) are on the injured reserve. Jaromir Jagr (lower-body) is day-to-day and remains on the active roster.

Florida: Roberto Luongo (lower-body) is on the injured reserve.

When Last We Met

This is the first of two meetings between Calgary and Florida this season. The Flames won both games last season. They play again in Calgary next month.

The Numbers

CGY FLA
Wins 23 18
Points 50 42
Adjusted Corsi 52.4% 48.5%
Power Play 17.7% 15.6%
Penalty Kill 80.0% 80.2%

Know Thy Enemy

Here’s a brief look at Florida Panthers Twitter:

Sum It Up

The Flames try to extend their winning streak on the second half of a back-to-back.

FGD BROUGHT TO YOU BY ATB FINANCIAL

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

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