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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.

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.

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.

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:

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

Let’s show Vegas something they’ve never seen before—Alberta hockey fans.

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