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FGD 27: Heading to Chi-Town (5pm MT, SN West)

After capturing three points on a two game homestand, the Calgary Flames (15-9-2, 32 points) hit the road for a brief eastern swing. Their first stop is the United Center, where they visit the Chicago Blackhawks (9-13-5, 23 points).

The puck drops just after 5 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Bennett
Mangiapane – Ryan – Neal
Lomberg – Jankowski – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Andersson

Kylington – Hamonic

After a strong performance against Los Angeles, Mike Smith is back in net for the Flames. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The projected healthy scratches are Dalton Prout and Austin Czarnik. Andrew Mangiapane makes his season debut, replacing Austin Czarnik, and putting a trio of 2015 picks into the lineup.

Since their Oct. 25 thrashing at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Flames have gotten their act together for the most part. They’ve gone 10-4-2 in that span, playing a pretty solid defensive game and translating that into a potent offensive attack. The NHL’s scheduling robot has put them in a favourable position, facing teams on the back side of back-to-backs in recent weeks, and they’ve managed to keep amassing points.

If they keep doing that, they’ll have a nice buffer between themselves and the rest of the Pacific Division.

The Blackhawks

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Perlini – Toews – Saad
Debrincat – Strome – Kane
Kahun – Kampf – Hayden
Martinsen – Anisimov – Kruger

Keith – Jokiharju
Manning – Seabrook
Gustafsson – Forsling

Cam Ward started in Nashville, so presumably Corey Crawford gets the nod for the Blackhawks. Their healthy scratches last night were Chris Kunitz, Jan Rutta and Alexandre Fortin, so potentially one (or a few) of them rotate in.

The Blackhawks were not good in Nashville last night, losing 5-2 after a really rough first period. They have the NHL’s worst power play and the fourth-worst penalty kill. They’ve already fired their coach. They’re not in good shape. They haven’t been good this season. There are points on the table that the Flames desperately need to grab hold of if they want to make the post-season.

The Numbers

CGY CHI
Wins 15 9
Points 32 23
Corsi Close 55.3% 49.6%
Power Play 20.9% 11.8%
Penalty Kill 76.3% 74.0%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Juuso Valimaki, Michael Frolik and Michael Stone.

The Blackhawks are missing Brandon Davidson.

Season Series

This is the second of three games between Calgary and Chicago this season. The Flames beat the Blackhawks 5-3 back in early November – it was the game where Duncan Keith crunched Dillon Dube in the first minute. They’ll finish off their season series in early January in Chicago.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Blackhawks Twitter follows for tonight:

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