Coming off a loss in a key divisional game, the Calgary Flames (35-27-10) go from the frying pan to the fire this afternoon as they head down to Las Vegas to play the Vegas Golden Knights (45-21-5). The Flames let things get away from them on Friday night and they ended up losing 7-3. They’ll need to be sharp, as they’re playing a Vegas club that lit them up for a 7-3 loss the last time they visited T-Mobile Arena.
The puck drops just after 2:00 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. (The Edmonton/Tampa Bay game will be on Sportsnet West, for the curious.)
Projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Brouwer (A) – Backlund – Frolik
Versteeg – Jankowski – Bennett
Lazar – Stajan – Hathaway
Giordano (C) – Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone
Mike Smith starts for the Flames. He’s 24-18-6 with a 2.60 goals against average and .919 save percentage. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The expected scratches are Matt Bartkowski, Nick Shore, Chris Stewart and Tanner Glass, while Matthew Tkachuk remains out with a suspected concussion. It’s the first half of a back-to-back which concludes tomorrow evening in Glendale, Arizona against the Coyotes.
There’s potentially some line shuffling this afternoon, as Brouwer moves up to the 2M Line, Bennett drops to the third line and Hathaway slides to the fourth line. The reason? The Golden Knights are very fast and very good, and in theory this provides more balance. At least that’s Glen Gulutzan’s goal with any tweaks. That said, the Flames also have a lot of players with some bumps and bruises, so perhaps there’s also an element of “Hey, let’s try to balance out the number of healthy bodies on each line” in this, too.
The Golden Knights
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Marchessault – Karlsson – Neal
Perron – Haula – Tatar
Carpenter – Eakin – Tuch
Nosek – Bellemare – Reaves
McNabb – Schmidt
Engelland – Theodore
Miller – Merrill
Marc-Andre Fleury starts for Vegas. He’s 25-11-3 with a 2.26 goals against average and .927 save percentage. He’s backed up by Maxime Legace. The projected healthy scratches are college signee Zach Whitecloud and Brad Hunt.
The Golden Knights have been a sub-.500 team of late, which has slid them from the top spot in the Western Conference to “merely” the runaway Pacific Division leader. Perhaps they’re falling back down to earth a bit – and that was bound to happen – but they’re still a good team with depth, speed, and Deryk Engelland. The Flames will need to figure out Vegas sooner or later, because they absolutely need to get points from these games if they have any shot of making the playoffs.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Marek Hrivik (upper-body) are on the injured reserve. Matthew Tkachuk (suspected concussion) remains out, but on the active roster.
Vegas: Mikhail Grabovski (upper-body), David Clarkson (back), William Carrier (undisclosed) and Clayton Stoner (shoulder) are on the injured reserve. Malcolm Subban (undisclosed), Reilly Smith (undisclosed), Luca Sbisa (undisclosed) and Oscar Lindberg (undisclosed) are hurt but remain on the active roster.
When Last We Met
The Flames have lost their first two games to Vegas: a 4-2 loss in Calgary and a 7-3 loss in Nevada. The game in Vegas was close for about half of it, then the wheels fell off. That sounds familiar.
Know Thy Enemy
Here are some Golden Knights accounts to check out:
Sum It Up
The Flames have 10 games remaining. They desperately need points to stay afloat in the Western Conference playoff race.
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Let’s show Vegas something they’ve never seen before—Alberta hockey fans.
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