After 11 days on the road, the Calgary Flames (29-20-8) finally complete their six game road trip this evening when they visit Music City to face the Nashville Predators (34-12-9). The Flames have won three of their five games on the trip thus far, but are coming off a thoroughly flat performance against a very good Boston Bruins team on Tuesday. They’ll face another stiff test against the reigning Western Conference champions (and one of the top teams in the conference this season).
The game starts just after 6 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
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
David Rittich starts for the Flames. He’s 5-2-2 with a 2.41 goals against average and .923 save percentage. He’s backed up by Jon Gillies. The expected healthy scratches are Matt Bartkowski and Marek Hrivik.
The Flames’ special teams have struggled lately. The Flames have lost or merely broken even in the special teams battle in 15 of their last 18 games since Dec. 31. They’ve been incredibly reliant on their even strength scoring and as they play against better and better teams, it’s incredibly difficult to win that way. Blame whoever you want for the special teams gaffes – the coaches, the players or just dumb puck luck – they absolutely need to find some way to turn it around.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Forsberg – Johansen – Arvidsson
Fiala – Turris – Smith
Hartnell – Bonino – Jarnkrok
Salomaki – Sissons – Watson
Josi – Ellis
Ekholm – Subban
Emelin – Weber
Pekka Rinne starts for Nashville. He’s 29-8-4 with a 2.31 goals against average and .927 save percentage. He’s backed up by Juuse Saros. The healthy scratches are expected to be Matt Irwin, Anthony Bitetto and Pontus Aberg.
The Predators are a group that finds ways to get points. They’ve gotten points out of every game they’ve played in dating back to a 2-1 regulation loss to Chicago way back on Jan. 30. Since then? They’re 5-0-2. They play a smart brand of hockey, utilizing speed, skill and positioning. They’re very much the same group the hockey world saw head to the Stanley Cup Final back in June. They’re a big test for a Flames team that isn’t playing their best hockey right now.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee), Kris Versteeg (hip) and Troy Brouwer (facial fracture) are on the injured reserve. Mike Smith (lower-body) is hurt but on the active roster.
Nashville: The Predators are healthy.
When Last We Met
This is the third (and final) meeting between these teams this season. They’ve split the two meetings; the Flames winning 3-2 in a shootout in Nashville in October, but losing 2-0 in a shutout at home in December.
Know Thy Enemy
Here’s a snapshot of Predators Twitter:
Sum It Up
It’s the final game of the road trip! A win means the Flames bring eight of a possible 12 points home. A loss means they limp home with a .500 road trip.
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