FGD 56: Travis Hamonic’s homecoming (5pm MT, SN West)

After a bit of a letdown game against the New York Rangers on Friday night, the Calgary Flames (28-19-8) are back at it with an eye towards redemption in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders (27-23-6). The Flames are coming off a game on Friday where they coughed up a third period lead, while the Islanders made a miraculous comeback in their game against Detroit. It’s Travis Hamonic’s first game back at Barclays Center since his draft day trade to the Flames.

The game starts just after 5 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

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The Flames

Projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

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

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

Mike Smith starts for the 47th time this season. He’s 22-16-6 with a 2.54 goals against average and .921 save percentage. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The expected healthy scratches are Matt Bartkowski and Marek Hrivik.

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The Flames’ penalty kill has allowed a goal in each of the last six games. The Flames’ power play has out-scored the opposition’s in zero of the past six games – they were even in their 7-4 loss against Tampa Bay, but have otherwise lost the special teams battle. Both groups need to be better.

Johnny Gaudreau enters the evening tied for second in the National Hockey League in scoring with 65 points. Gaudreau’s brilliance has been overshadowed somewhat by Smith’s heroics in net and the team’s overall inconsistency, but the smallest person on the Flames has easily been their biggest offensive weapon.

The Islanders

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Lee – Tavares – Bailey
Beauvillier – Barzal – Eberle
Ladd – Nelson – Clutterbuck
Johnston – Cizikas – Chimera

Leddy – Boychuk
Hickey – Pulock
Pelech – Aho

Jaroslav Halak starts for the Islanders. He’s 17-16-4 with a 3.23 goals against average and .908 save percentage. He’s backed up by Thomas Greiss. The expected scratches are Dennis Seidenberg, Alan Quine and Tanner Fritz. Remember, the Islanders’ Sebastian Aho is a 21-year-old defenseman from Sweden, while the other Sebastian Aho plays for Carolina, is from Finland and plays right wing.

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The Isles had four power play goals during a five minute power play that got them back into their game on Friday, ultimately leading to an overtime win. Their power play is sharp, but it has to be to keep them in games. The Islanders have statistically the worst goaltending in the league, and the only team with worse penalty killing is the Edmonton Oilers. If the Flames are ever gonna jump-start their power play, tonight’s a golden opportunity.

Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Kris Versteeg (hip) are on the injured reserve. Troy Brouwer (facial fracture) is hurt but on the active roster.

NY Islanders: Nikolay Kulemin (upper-body), Shane Prince (undisclosed) and Calvin de Haan (upper-body) are on the injured reserve.

When Last We Met

These teams haven’t played each other yet this season. They split the two meetings last season, with the home team winning each game. They’ll meet again on Mar. 11 in Calgary.

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With the Belmont Park arena deal solidifying, this could be one of the last games the Flames play in Brooklyn. Good riddance, as the Flames have yet to win a game at Barclays Center.

The Numbers

Wins 28 27
Points 64 60
Adjusted Corsi 52.3% 47.2%
Power Play 16.8% 22.0%
Penalty Kill 79.0% 73.6%

Know Thy Enemy

Here are some nice folks that discuss the Isles:

Sum It Up

It’s the fourth game of a six game road trip, and a chance for the Flames to make up for a crappy effort against the Rangers.


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

  • Hockeyfan

    All the panic wannabe hockey experts in here, funny. Smith walking pain free, i said relax, the sooner you realize i have forgotten more about this game than most of you will ever know, the happier we all will be.

  • Off the wall

    Damn, I told you Smith didn’t look comfortable in net. He was looking uneasy, his body language was screaming it.
    But what do I know?
    If we would have put Rittich in this wouldn’t have happened.

    Gel head, thanks

  • MontanaMan

    How does Gaudreau eff up every odd man rush – every 3 on 1 or 2 on 1 he ends up behind the net and the Flames never get a shot. Hard to believe someone so talented offensively can’t figure out what to do in that situation.

  • Off the wall

    My wife asked me where we should go for a much needed dinner together last night.

    Little does she know because of my superstitions, I picked “Mr. Mikes” Steakhouse.

    I wanted to, treat my wife to some good cuisine, while supporting the M’s on our team.
    Weird, probably? But I feel like a member of the team, even if it’s to support them in my own eccentric, superstitious way.

    In addition, much to my delight, we had an opportunity for my grown daughter, her husband and my sweet granddaughter to join us. All grandchildren are sweet, right?

    My daughter remarked about how much she loved the food and the restaurant, however we both knew it was each other’s company that made the ambience and meal outstanding.

    I guess my point is this, you can have the best meal, but it’s each other that makes it special.

    I believe in today’s parity of hockey, you need to rely on each other. You stick up for your teammates, you support each other when others are struggling, you create an ambience of trust and respect-family like if you will.

    That’s what makes a team special. Yes it’s 23 players, all with various talent and strengths and their own weaknesses.

    How many times have you heard, “we’re like family” in this dressing room?

    All the statistics aside, it’s the thing that separates teams from playing hockey to win-to playing for each other in a winning attitude.

    Once I see this as a normal behaviour, I won’t be concerned about the results.

    They’ll speak for themselves.

  • Off the wall

    The Flames are a tale of two teams. One at home. One on the road.

    I prefer the road one, but who doesn’t?

    The Flames top 2 lines have 101 of Calgary’s 154 goals this season. Wow! That’s crazy.
    Secondary help anyone?

    The Flames are 1-6 vs the Islanders in the last 7 games, regardless of the venue they played at. Not promising.

    Both teams need these points to stay in the playoff race. 2 points for NYI, puts them back in the Wildcard.
    2 points for the Flames vaults them back in the Pacific, an important game is understated.

    Although the odds of us winning is not looking good, (Sunday games and our record at Barclays ) I’m going to say we win this one 4-2.

    Flames: Smith 22-16-6.
    2.54GAA. ——.921SV%

    Islanders: Halak 17-16-4
    3.23GAA—— .908SV%

    The difference will be Mike Smith.

  • Hockeyfan

    Zero help from the welfare disgraces up north, but no surprise there. Get er done Flames, keep on the gas boys, dogfight here on in, while the welfare disgraces happily tank again for more top 5 picks.

  • Off the wall

    Smith does not look comfortable at all in net.
    I would put Rittich in to finish this one off and give Rittich the next game.
    This isn’t Smiths fault, GG needs to decrease his work load.

    What is the point if using Smith for every “ must win game “ if it we never get there?