Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 15: Here come the Blackhawks (8pm MT, CBC)

Just two days after a remarkable third period comeback win, the Calgary Flames (8-5-1, 17 points) are back in action. They’re hosting another Western Conference foe in the form of the Chicago Blackhawks (6-5-3, 15 points), who’ve struggled with inconsistency thus far in the 2018-19 season.

It’s the late game on Hockey Night in Canada, kicking off at 8 p.m. MT on CBC, Sportsnet West and 360 and City TV, and (as always) carried on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. Based on morning skate, the Flames are wearing their snazzy retro jerseys.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Neal
Hathaway – Ryan – Dube

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic

Valimaki – Andersson

The big question after Thursday’s 6-5 win was which netminder would get tonight’s start. The answer is David Rittich, who was superb on the road against Buffalo – and has been superb in every game he’s started thus far. He’ll be backed up by Mike Smith, who gave up five in Thursday’s win. The projected healthy scratches are Dalton Prout, Michael Stone and Austin Czarnik – meaning there’s no significant changes from a group that’s won three games in a row.

The locals have played four consecutive smart defensive hockey games, limiting their opponents to fewer than 10 high-danger scoring chances in each of the four games. If they can keep doing that, they’ll have success. Heck, they’ve had success, going 3-0-1. If they can get saves more consistently than they have been, they’ll likely have continued success playing this way.

The Flames also need more out of their special teams. They lost the special teams battle 2-1 against Colorado (including giving up a shorthanded goal) and they need to get momentum (and goals) from their special teams units more consistently.

The Blackhawks

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

DeBrincat – Toews – Saad
Schmaltz – Anisimov – Kane
Kunitz – Kampf – Kahun
Fortin – Kruger – Martinsen

Keith – Jokiharju
Gustafsson – Seabrook
Manning – Rutta

Corey Crawford starts for Chicago, backed up by Cam Ward. The projected scratches are Brandon Davidson, John Hayden and Luke Johnson.

The Blackhawks are an odd team this season. They’re not bad, but they’re not terribly consistent. Their defensive group is showing the ravages of age and cap management, and their forward group is a bit top-heavy. They tried to spread things out for the Edmonton game on Thursday and weren’t great, losing 4-0. They’ll hope to be a tad better against Calgary.

The Numbers

Wins 8 6
Points 17 15
Corsi Close 54.2% 52.0%
Power Play 15.8% 13.0%
Penalty Kill 71.7% 77.3%

Injury Report

The Flames are healthy.

The Blackhawks are without Connor Murphy (back).

History Lesson

This is the first meeting between Calgary and Chicago this season. They’ll play twice more at the United Center (in December and January) to close out the season series.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Blackhawks Twitter follows for tonight:

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