Photo Credit: on Chenoy / USA Today Sports

FGD 65: Back to the mountains (7:30pm MT, SN360)

Less than 24 hours after being shut out by the Dallas Stars, the Calgary Flames (32-23-9) dust themselves off and prepare for another critical match-up in the Western Conference playoff race. They face another team on the outside of the playoffs, and scrambling for points, in the form of the Colorado Avalanche (33-24-5). These teams faced each other on Saturday in Calgary and the Flames played a really good game. Can they bounce back from the Dallas loss against a team that they’ve had recent success against?

The game kicks off just after 7:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

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The Flames

Projected lines based on how things finished last night, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

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

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

Since Jon Gillies started yesterday, it’s David Rittich time in Colorado. Rittich hasn’t started in three games and has had a few rocky outings, but he’s had time to hopefully work out of his funk. He’s 6-4-3 with a 3.03 goals against average and .903 save percentage. While Nick Shore joined the team in Denver, he’s dealing with an illness and won’t make his debut tonight. He joins Matt Bartkowski and Tanner Glass in the press box.

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The Flames have been shut out five times this season. In the previous four games, they followed things up with a 6-3 win over Winnipeg, a 5-2 win over Vancouver, a 6-4 loss to Dallas, and a 6-1 win over Vancouver. So they usually win, but they’ve always scored at least four goals. If they can get some solid goaltending, their “typical” offensive bounce-back should be a push in the right direction.

The Avalanche

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Compher – Kerfoot – Wilson
Comeau – Soderberg – Nieto
Bourque – Jost – Yakupov

Zadorov – Barrie
Nemeth – Girard
Siemens – Warsofsky

Semyon Varlamov starts for Colorado. He’s 16-13-3 with a 2.88 goals against average and .912 save percentage. He’s backed up by Spencer Martin, as Andrew Hammond goes through the concussion protocol after being hit by a stick on the bench during Colorado’s game. The projected healthy scratches for the Avs are Mark Alt and Dominic Toninato.

The Avalanche are on the cusp of falling out of the playoff picture, and they can draw even with the Flames with a regulation win or topple further from a playoff berth with a loss. Expect a desperate Avalanche club tonight as this is the latest in a series of must-win games for them.

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Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee), Kris Versteeg (hip), Marek Hrivik (upper-body) and Mike Smith (lower-body) are on the injured reserve. Micheal Ferland (upper-body) is hurt but on the active roster.

Colorado: Vladislav Kamenev (arm), Mark Barberio (lower-body), Jonathan Bernier (concussion), Erik Johnson (upper-body), Sven Andrighetto (leg) and Anton Lindholm (upper-body) are on the injured reserve.

When Last We Met

This is the final meeting between the Flames and Avalanche this season. The Flames have won the first two games by 3-2 and 5-1 scores.

The Numbers

Wins 32 33
Points 73 71
Adjusted Corsi 52.5% 48.0%
Power Play 18.6% 20.1%
Penalty Kill 80.0% 82.7%

Know Thy Enemy

Here are some Avalanche-related accounts!

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Sum It Up

It’s a big game for both teams, as both the Flames and Avalanche desperately need points to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race.


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

  • SgtRoadBlock

    The playoff with the Ducks screw this team, the rebuild was put on hold cause of it and now we have a core Roster of 40min gamers and 7, 4th liners lol# sad,

  • Honkydonk

    There you go Treliving. What a great team you put together ain’t it? I’ve seen homeless folks with more heart man.

    Your so called best d in the league have not been aggressive even one game this year.

    You get half an NHL team and seemingly think it’s time to trade away our future.

    Like my mother always says. Never trust a man with no hair on his head as they lack intelligence

  • BlueMoonNigel

    The best part of this is how much longer Flames’ fans are going to get sucked in by that snake oil salesman posing as GM. It took about a decade before you figured out Sutter was a fraud. Considering how long Riser continued as Flames GM after that disastrous Gilmour trade, it seems we will be smelling snake oil in these parts for a whole lot longer.

      • KKisTHEproblem

        And Elliot and Hiller and Ramo and Johnson and and and. How long can we watch goalies fall apart (except Smith, who just happens to be a veteran at 36 and maybe knows his own game?) Before this flippin guy loses his job. It’s another black eye on treliving.

  • Bob Hartley

    I hope Burke is happy. The master of speeding up a rebuild and then he leaves a team in shambles for years to come. Leaf and knuck fans know what I’m talking about.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      If Burkie is doing the job he is being paid for plus Tre’s job, what the hell is Tre on the payroll for? Maybe this kind of terrible management of personnel and finances is why Nenshi is so unwilling to pimp taxpayer bucks to the building of a new arena.

    • FL?MES

      That is not true. The core is young and the future looks bright. Veteran players will gradually be traded for picks, prospects and players, while prospects will graduate to the NHL. A new coach will get the team on track. This was never going to be our year anyway. It’s all good. Things will get sorted out.

  • RKD

    A Flames fan made a great point for years with Iginla the Flames didn’t have a center. Now we don’t have top line RW and have trouble scoring. For many years the Flames organization rode Iggy and Kipper now we are riding Gaudreau and Smith. The problems are way bigger than goaltending, it’s coaching, special teams, lack of motivation, player usage, a laundry list. Not enough guys who hate to lose outside of Chucky and Smith.

  • Mickey O

    One point out of the Pacific. Two points out of a wild card, spotting two teams a game.
    The way the comments seem to be flowing here, the Flames will be mathematically eliminated by Saturday. There are still 17 games to go.

  • cgyokgn

    Couldn’t bear to watch the team lose so turned off the TV for the third, thinking that if our red light/goal horn went off, I would turn the TV back on. But it never did… just silence. I see they had a pp in the last two minutes and had a chance… but no. Special teams killed us. It’s really hard to be a fan of this team and sad to see our season slipping away.

  • aye

    At least we still have 4 games against SoCal teams. As disappointing as the past 2 weeks have been, none of the other teams in the race, aside from MIN, have really pulled away. Games this time of the year are just hard to win, no matter who you’re playing against.
    Frustrated like everyone on here, but still have faith.

  • flames2015

    Stewart, zero shots,zero hits, -1. Defended him before he put on the flames jersey, but man is he invisible? Wheres that motivation from getting picked up on the waiver? Hit someone at the very least. Just floats around in no mans land.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Has Stewart won a puck battle yet? Maybe when you bring in “Depth guys”, you should let them practice with the team before putting them in? (in hind sight I guess?)

  • Sven

    Sadly evident that the live and die with our best player …….Mike Smith

    with Mr Smith we are a marginal 8th seed playoff team

    without Mr Smith we are marginally the best NHL team in the
    Wild Rose Republic

    and sadly – Mr Smith is fast approaching his 36th birthday

  • Mickey O

    Tkachuk took two very stupid penalties. Gulutzan gets himself another bench minor in back-to-back games. .
    That was a terrible embelishment call on Gaudreau. But then the subsequent yapping gets him a misconduct.

    All very preventable from a mentally tough, well-coached team. Which the Flames are not.

    • Justthateasy

      Tkachuk got that penalty on Como because of gulutzan. Como was just as much at fault but the referee is making an example of gulutzan for his stupid bench penalty.
      Why does Hathaway have to do all the hitting out there on the third line? What is the matter with Jankowski? He floats around out there ready to show off his offense of skills. He better put his ass in gear and do some work. He’s got the size too.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      Ya, he did do one… For the First time in two years I actually thought he did an OK job at it!
      He called out the “Biased & Questionable” if not just plain wrong Officiating~! (Could have ranted about it being BS officiating the past 2 games) and he stuck up for GH and the complete BS call against him… About time~! But one decent post game interview dosen’t make up for a year of continuous and infuriating poor/bad coaching, period!

  • Rexx

    Though the odds of it happening down the stretch are thin, I wouldn’t be mad if we didn’t see Gulutzan again this season. We are headed down a path that misses the post season at this rate, so even if we get the same result at the expense of firing him, good. It could spark the team as well.

    Either way, the team without him behind the bench, (in my eyes) will produce a better on ice product.