233Flames score on Nashville
Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports

FGD 30: The Flames host the Predators (and adversity) (8pm MT, Hockey Night in Canada)

Under most circumstances, the Calgary Flames (18-9-2, 38 points) hosting the Nashville Predators (19-9-1, 39 points) would be seen as a measuring stick game pitting the Pacific Division’s best team against the Central’s. Instead, it’ll be a test of the Flames’ intestinal fortitude as they face a whole lot of adversity at the same time.

The puck drops tonight just after 8 p.m. MT. It’s the late national game, so it’s on (deep breath) Sportsnet West, One, 360, City TV, CBC and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

If you’re coming to the game and wish to contribute stuffed animals to the Calgary Hitmen’s attempt at reclaiming their Teddy Bear Toss record from the Hershey Bears, there will be trucks collecting them at the Chrysler Club entrance and by the entrance on the west side of the building.

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The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Ryan – Bennett
Mangiapane – Jankowski – Neal
Czarnik – Quine – Hathaway

Hanifin – Hamonic
Brodie – Andersson
Kylington – Prout

Mike Smith starts for the Flames, backed up by David Rittich, with Smith riding a five game winning streak and playing some pretty darn good hockey. The Flames will be without Mark Giordano and Ryan Lomberg, and their lone healthy scratch is Rinat Valiev (freshly recalled from Stockton).

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The Flames are without Giordano temporarily and without Mikael Backlund potentially for a bit longer, so tonight will be a fascinating evening. Can Derek Ryan step up and play more of a shutdown role? Can Matthew Tkachuk carry his line? Can the new-look defense, anchored by Noah Hanifin and Travis Hamonic, hold up against one of the best teams in the NHL? For what it’s worth, head coach Bill Peters phrased the situation as “opportunity more than adversity,” so we’ll see what a few players do with bigger roles for the next couple games.

The power play units, for the curious:

  • PP1: Monahan-Gaudreau-Lindholm-Tkachuk-Brodie
  • PP2: Ryan-Czarnik-Neal-Bennett-Hanifin

The Predators

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Hartman – Johansen – Fiala
Tolvanen – Jarnkrok – Smith
Salomaki – Sissons – Watson
Gaudreau – Bonino – Grimaldi

Josi – Ellis
Hamhuis – Ekholm
Irwin – Weber

Juuse Saros starts for Nashville, backed up by Pekka Rinne. Anthony Bitetto and Zac Rinaldo are their healthy extras.

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While the Flames are without a few key bodies, so are the Predators. They’re missing roughly half of their top six as well as P.K. Subban, but they keep plugging along. They’re well-structured, talented and well-coached. They’re a damn good team and will be a big challenge for the Flames.

The Numbers

Wins 18 19
Points 38 39
Corsi Close 54.7% 52.7%
Power Play 23.3% 15.5%
Penalty Kill 77.2% 80.7%

Injury Report

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

The Predators are without Viktor Arvidsson, P.K. Subban, Kyle Turris and Filip Forsberg.

Season Series

This is the final regular season meeting between Calgary and Nashville. The Flames shut out the Predators 3-0 in Nashville on Oct. 9, but lost 5-3 in Calgary on Oct. 19.

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Know Thy Enemy

Your Predators Twitter follows for tonight:

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