The Flames look like they’ll be rolling with roughly the same lineup they had against the Sharks, as updates from practice indicate Dillon Dube will be out one more game, while Mike Smith retains the net as the team’s starter.
Dube hasn’t played since he got all of 14 seconds into the Nov. 3 game against the Blackhawks, when his night was prematurely ended due to a Duncan Keith boarding call that saw the Chicago defenceman ejected from the game.
He was placed on the injured reserve and missed the Flames’ three-game road trip through California, but isn’t expected to be out too much longer.
Also sounds like Dillon Dube won’t go tomorrow. Coach Peters says not related to concussion; says Dube needs a little more practice time to get back up to game speed. #Flames
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) November 14, 2018
Smith, meanwhile, is a much more contentious issue. He’s been outplayed by David Rittich throughout the entire season, and that includes the aforementioned road trip: one could conceivably blame the loss in Anaheim mostly on him; however, he played well against the Sharks after giving up a questionable goal in the game’s first minute. Rittich, meanwhile, posted a 1-0 shutout against the Kings the game before.
Smith’s good game against the Sharks, however, is likely a massive blessing for the Flames, even though they took the loss. The Flames are probably going to view Smith as their starter until they absolutely cannot any longer, and efforts like the one in San Jose help reinforce the idea that he’s still a good goaltender going through a bad stretch (whether that’s actually true or not).
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Smith gets the start after a good game: the Flames will likely take every chance he gives them to keep him in the starter’s role.