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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

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

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  • MontanaMan

    Another defensive gem by Gaudreau as he does a drive by, ending up in the corner and not taking anyone. The play was essentially a 2 on 2 but nobody was on the puck carrier and nobody took Kane in front. And the Flames wonder why they’re out of a playoff spot.

      • MontanaMan

        Did you even watch the play? Anyone with an ounce of hockey knowledge (and I won’t make any assumptions Derzie) would have seen exactly what I wrote. And you blame the coach for the “best player” not knowing who to pick up on the play, but instead choosing to do a fly by and pick up nobody. Everyone else saw it but you must be right.

  • Trevy

    I really have nothing left to say until we see what changes are made at the end of the season and beyond. As for this game, I hope Lazar has a great game on the top line and both Shore and Andersson have success as well

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Sharks vs the Chum…lol
    That is priceless…
    *sigh*~ Its pretty bad when the only thing to look forward to … is, well… Just hoping the game isn’t a total blow out… or shut-out against.
    Man these are some bleak days ahead… No more injuries please, or PP’s if the Flames don’t get a PP all game long I’d count that as a blessing, having to watch the Brouwer-play is just depressing and a deflating 2min to have to watch…ungh~! *sigh*~ GFG…

  • 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…

  • Alberta Ice

    On a different note: I mentioned a few games back we might catch Dallas. Watched that game of Dallas against Boston last night. What a gut wrenching, horrible ending their fans had to watch. Up 2-0 going into the 3rd. Boston comes back and wins with a third goal with 11 seconds remaining. If I’m a Stars fan, I’ve just realized the playoffs are most likely over. Now one set of fans from St. Louis, Anaheim, Colorado, or LA will have to go through a very excruciating elimination process. Could easily be the last day of the season. (PS: That Boston team is absolutely amazingly deep when you consider who is presently out with injuries – and they still find ways to win. Don’t count them out of the Cup run by any means.)

  • I'm Just Going To Put This Out There

    Not even watching. Won’t watch another game until the coaching is entirely replaced. I hope they lose every game until the end. Whatever drives the point home that BT screwed up, screwed his players over and screwed the fans especially lose who pay the excessive price of admission by going with an unproven and obviously inept coaching staff that has set this team back, not taken it to that next level like BT exclaimed he was doing with these hirings.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • RKD

    I quote the infamous Michel Therrien: “I’m not impressed,” he said. “It’s a pathetic performance. Half the team doesn’t care. These guys would see if we take 50 percent of their salaries because they only play 50 percent of the time. That defensive squad, I really am starting to believe their goal is to be the worst in the league.

    “And they’re doing the best job to be the worst defensive squad in the league. They turn the puck over, they have no vision, they suck. They pretend to care, but I know they don’t care.”
    Sounds familiar.