The Calgary Flames (30-22-9) have 21 games remaining in their 2017-18 regular season schedule, and they’re not playing great at a time when the Western Conference playoff race is intensifying. They have a chance to pick up some sorely-needed points tonight against the Arizona Coyotes (17-32-10), who have been playing quite well as of late and are a group with nothing to lose.
The puck drops around 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
Projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Hathaway
Lazar – Stajan – Brouwer (A)
Giordano (C) – Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone
Jon Gillies makes his first start this season for the Flames, and the second of his NHL career. He’s 0-0-0 with a 4.35 goals against average and .815 save percentage, though both of his appearances this season have been mop-up duty in games that were already well out-of-hand. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The projected healthy scratches are Matt Bartkowski and Ryan Lomberg.
The Flames gave up six even strength goals last night in Vegas. Rittich wasn’t great last night, but the team in front of him was also extremely leaky in terms of their defensive zone play and giving up some rough chances. They haven’t had a lead in three games. They’ve given up the first goal in seven games in a row. They need to get their act together if they want to avoid falling completely out of the playoff race.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Perlini – Stepan – Keller
Archibald – Dvorak – Fischer
Panik – Domi – Rinaldo
Martinook – Richardson – Cousins
Ekman-Larsson – Demers
Chychrun – Hjalmarsson
Connauton – Goligoski
Coming off a shutout against Edmonton, Antti Raanta starts for Arizona. He’s 12-14-6 with a 2.45 goals against average and .924. He’s backed up by the newly-acquired Darcy Kuemper. The healthy scratches look to be Luke Schenn and Freddie Hamilton.
On one hand, Arizona’s dead-last in the NHL’s overall standings. On the other hand, they’ve won four games in a row (and five of their last six), including wins over Minnesota, Chicago and San Jose. They’re a dangerous bunch because they’re playing sharp, fast and loose hockey.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee), Kris Versteeg (hip) and Marek Hrivik (undisclosed) are on the injured reserve. Mike Smith (lower-body) is hurt but on the active roster.
Arizona: Dave Bolland (upper-body) is on the injured reserve.
When Last We Met
This is the second of four games between the Flames and Arizona this season. The Flames beat Arizona 3-0 in Calgary back on Nov. 30.
Know Thy Enemy
Here are some dandy people that will tweet desert hockey tonight:
Sum It Up
The Flames are in a slide and face a test against the worst team in the Western Conference. They really, really need points… even more direly than they did 24 hours ago.
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Let’s show Vegas something they’ve never seen before—Alberta hockey fans.
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