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Photo Credit: Stan Szeto / USA Today Sports

FGD 76: Sharks and chum (2pm MT, SN West)

The Calgary Flames (35-30-10) remain mathematically alive in the Western Conference playoff race, but only just. Their flagging playoff chances could take another big hit this afternoon when they visit the San Jose Sharks (42-23-9). The Sharks walloped the Flames in their last meeting and Calgary was not very good. At all. Now they’re looking for a shred of redemption and a chance to keep their playoff hopes alive, barely, for another day.

The puck drops just after 2:00 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

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The Flames

Projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Bennett – Lazar
Brouwer (A) – Backlund (A) – Frolik
Ferland – Jankowski – Stewart
Shore – Stajan – Hathaway

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

David Rittich starts for the Flames. He’s 8-5-3 with a 2.78 goals against average and .908 save percentage. He’s backed up by Mike Smith. The projected healthy scratches are Matt Bartkowski and Tanner Glass. The Flames are without Matthew Tkachuk and TJ Brodie on a day-to-day basis due to upper-body injuries, while Sean Monahan and Kris Versteeg are done for the season.

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The Flames have been poor lately. And by “lately,” I mean since late January. They’ve lost four in a row and five of their past six games. Their elimination number is 3.5, meaning any combination of 3.5 Flames losses or Anaheim wins results in the Flames officially golfing in mid-April.

The Sharks

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Kane – Pavelski – Karlsson
Hertl – Couture – Boedker
Meier – Tierney – Labanc
Goodrow – Fehr – Hansen

Martin – Burns
Vlasic – Braun
Dillon – DeMelo

Martin Jones starts for the Sharks. He’s 27-18-6 with a 2.47 goals against average and .917 save percentage. He’s reserved by Aaron Dell. The scratches look to be Marcus Sorensen, Joakim Ryan, Maxim Letunov and Tim Heed.

You can say what you want about Evander Kane – and his off-ice issues are, to be blunt, myriad – but he’s been good for the Sharks thus far. He absolutely dissected the Flames in their last meeting, with Kane potting four goals before the end of the second period. (Granted, the Flames were scary-bad defensively in that game.) San Jose is rounding into form and this game looks to be but a minor stop-off in their road to the playoffs. They’ve won six in a row.

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Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Marek Hrivik (upper-body) are on the injured reserve. Kris Versteeg (hip) and Sean Monahan (various) are done for the season. Matthew Tkachuk (suspected concussion) and TJ Brodie (upper-body) are both out but remain on the active roster.

San Jose: Joe Thornton (knee) is on the injured reserve. Joel Ward (shoulder), and Joonas Donskoi (upper-body) are out but remain on the active roster.

When Last We Met

This is the fourth and final game between these teams this season. The Flames have lost all three games between these clubs: 3-2, 3-2 (in a shootout) and 7-4. But if it makes you feel any better, the Flames out-shot the Sharks in all three games.

The Numbers

CGY SJS
Wins 35 42
Points 80 93
Adjusted Corsi 53.2% 51.3%
Power Play 16.9% 21.2%
Penalty Kill 81.4% 84.4%

Know Thy Enemy

Check out these folks for sweet, sweet Sharks tweets:

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Sum It Up

The Flames have seven games left and they’re basically meaningless except from a developmental standpoint.

FGD BROUGHT TO YOU BY ATB FINANCIAL

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  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    OK the Next time an Opposition player is digging at the puck under the goalie…. Crosscheck His FACE into the Ice… Why are the Flames so Passive to protect each other? So Wimpy! So Frustrating!

    • Pizzaman

      Over several years in the NHL Lazar has demonstrated speed, microphone smarts and the inability to use his stick to score. The only way Lazar scores is if Johnny fires it off Lazar’s Butt or head. Don’t pass to the tape on his stick.

  • The GREAT WW

    We are really going to have to get lucky with our next coaching hire, and have a good coach fall into our lap.
    I have no confidence in BT’s ability to find the next great young coach, it’s going to take Quenneville/ Trotz/ Vigneault shaking loose and landing on our door step…..

    And Dave Cameron?! Really!!!!?

    WW

    • Pizzaman

      We aren’t going to find the next head coach in the bargain bin, Flames will have to pay up which is where BT and B.B. give me concerns. Will they pay. Cameron is a joke and that’s where we should take a risk on a talented young up and comer who understands today’s game. What failed this year was the pp and pk and the coaches ability to adapt and change in-game as well as over several games when things aren’t working (eg: Brody Hamonic). BT won’t get fired but he better be flexible and nimble…

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I’ve refrained from commenting as I watched this season go off the rails… well because… it’s tax season and I’ve been kinda busy. This has thankfully also kept me from watching the games like normal – I only would have been disappointed and throwing things at the TV. Here is my summary of how to fix the Flames for next year (generally speaking, think other teams, similar players if deal can’t be made):
    – New coach. With an established track record (Quenville, Trots, Vigneault)
    – Trade Stone for a 2nd round pick at the draft, bring up Rasmus
    – Buy out Brouwer
    – Don’t sign Stajan, Steward or Versteeg
    – Youth and speed is where the game is going. Need to give guys like Mangiapane, Foo, Dube, Klimchuk, Gawdin a REAL opportunity to make the team.
    – Put some of our apparent D prospect depth to the test. Trade Hamonic to TO (wanted him when Flames got him) for Kapanen and a 1st round pick
    – Move Brodie to the right side where he’s played HIS WHOLE LIFE until GG thought he was smarter than everyone else.
    – Trade Bennett, TO’s 1st & top D prospect (beyond the big 3), ie Kylington to someone for a LEGIT top line RW. Think Mark Stone, Anthony Maantha or Phil Kessel
    – Sign JVR in free agency

    Then you’d have:

    Johnny-Monny-Stone/Kessel
    Tkachuk-Jankowski-Kapanen
    JVR-Backlund-Frolik
    Ferland-Dube-Lazar
    Shore, Mangiapane

    Gio-Hamilton
    Kulak-Brodie
    Valimaaki/TSpoon-Rasmus

    This roster would score a ton and be a lot of fun. Honestly I don’t think we even really lose on D. Rasmus and Kulak are as good combined as Stone/Hamonic if you ask me.

    • Sir ryosus

      Burke is a donkey but not our biggest problem. GG will be gone. Cameron never should have been hired but should have dropped him earlier and get anyone else to replace him. Ferly is no 1st line regular maybe a filler short term. Bennett is going to be a beast one day. GG doesn’t give him enough chance to succeed so results are expected. The problem I see is most off the flames have no gumption. Mony needs to use his body 35 hits on season isn’t good enough when you skate with JG (pass it to me when we get it back). To those who hold ferly up on a pedestal look at point totals (39) not good enough for first line if winning is something you are trying to do. One of the problems I see is that flames don’t stick up for each other enough don’t know if that is coach orders or don’t really care about each otherLip service about how tight room is? They sure show no emotions when a teammate goes down or gets rocked. I hope Lazar around for 4 th line next year he skates hits hard enough that I can forgive him for lack of skill at speed. Drop brouwer I don’t recall seeing any player that has as many pucks die on his stick. If he has a good off season hopefully he can take his buy out money and tear up a rec league.

  • With Respect

    I feel bad for Johnny hockey. All I know is Giordano and Hamonic are classy guys and deserve our respect. Hope this team finishes out the season with a good effort and a positive vibe.

  • RKD

    Flames are looking really pathetic after that shutout victory over the Oilers, 5 losses in a row. 25 goal against in that span and shut out twice, contender my butt.

    • supra steve

      You have no idea what Burke’s responsibilities are with the Flames, but you have a platform to voice your uneducated opinion.
      Isn’t the internet wonderful, how did we ever cope without it.