339Andrew Mangiapane
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports

FGD 28: Battling the cannon (5pm MT, SN West)

The Calgary Flames (16-9-2, 34 points) aim to cap off their annual Dads Trip with a victory as they trek to Nationwide Arena to visit the Columbus Blue Jackets (15-9-2, 32 points). The Flames got a big win against Chicago and have a three game streak going, but can they withstand Columbus’ potent offense?

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
Czarnik – Jankowski – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic

Prout – Andersson

After working the bench for a few games, David Rittich is back in net. He’s backed up by Mike Smith. The healthy scratches are Oliver Kylington and Austin Czarnik.

The Flames are an imperfect team, but they’re finding ways to cobble together points. They weren’t very good at home against Dallas but they managed to get hot at the right time and get to overtime. They were uneven against the Kings and Blackhawks but got good goaltending and timely power play goals. Their best players are being difference-makers when they need them to be, and so they’re in first place in the Pacific Division.

The key to the Flames’ long-term success? Structure! Since the 9-1 thrashing from the Penguins the Flames have gone 11-4-2, but they’ve also limited teams to fewer than 10 high-danger scoring chances in all but two of those games. When the other team doesn’t have a ton of gold star chances, it’s usually a recipe for success.

The Blue Jackets

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Panarin – Dubois – Atkinson
Foligno – Jenner – Anderson
Dubinsky – Wennberg – Bjorkstrand
Sedlak – Nash – Hannikainen

Werenski – Jones
Murray – Nutivaara
Harrington – Savard

Pending unrestricted free agent Sergei Bobrovsky starts for the Jackets, backed up by Joonas Korpisalo. The projected healthy scratches are Dean Kukan and Anthony Duclair.

The Blue Jackets are an interesting team. They feature an interesting roster, frequent bouts of yelling from head coach John Tortorella, and the seemingly inevitable departure of Bobrovsky and top offensive gun Artemi Panarin. In the meantime, the Jackets are trying to survive in a tough division.

Columbus is a talented, physical team, and they’ll be an interesting test for a Flames team that has struggled against heavier teams in recent years.

The Numbers

Wins 16 15
Points 34 32
Corsi Close 55.2% 50.4%
Power Play 21.6% 16.7%
Penalty Kill 76.2% 79.5%

Injury Report

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

The Blue Jackets are healthy.

Season Series

This is the first of two meetings between Calgary and Columbus. They’ll close out the season series in mid-March at the Saddledome.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Blue Jackets Twitter follows for tonight:

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