Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 48: The Flames host the Sabres (7:30pm MT, SN1/360)

Winners of five in a row, the Calgary Flames (30-13-4, 64 points) hope to keep up their torrid pace when they host the Buffalo Sabres (23-17-6, 52 points) tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames are in the midst of a long homestand, while the Sabres

The game begins at 7:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet One (and 360) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

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Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski –  Czarnik
Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Andersson
Kylington – Prout

After backing up on Sunday night, David Rittich starts for the Flames. He’s backed up by Mike Smith. Travis Hamonic will miss his second straight game due to a family illness, while James Neal also is out tonight due to an illness of his own.

Through 47 games, this year’s Flames have won more games than every team in franchise history except the 1988-89 team. After stumbling a bit for three or four games, the Flames massively course-corrected against Arizona on Sunday with a 7-1 victory. If they can play consistent hockey for 60 minutes, the Flames could be a formidable group.

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For now, they’re trying to bank some points and inch their way closer to clinching a playoff spot.

The Sabres

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Skinner – Eichel – Reinhart
Sheary – Mittelstadt – Thompson
Sobotka – Rodrigues – Pominville
Girgensens – Larsson – Okposo

Dahlin – Bogosian
McCabe – Ristolainen
Scandella – Pilut

Linus Ullmark starts for Buffalo, backed up by Carter Hutton. Their projected scratches are Nathan Beaulieu, Matt Hunwick and Remi Elie.

The Sabres lost 7-2 in Edmonton on Monday night, their third loss in a row and continuing a stretch where they’ve only won three times in their last 10 games. Their skid has seen them tumble out of the Eastern Conference playoff spots, and they enter action tonight four points out of the last wildcard spot. There’s plenty of time left on the clock, but Sabres need to stop the bleeding before they slide too much further.

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The Numbers

Wins 30 23
Points 64 52
Corsi Close 53.1% 48.0%
Power Play 21.7% 17.6%
Penalty Kill 78.1% 83.2%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Juuso Valimaki and Michael Stone.

The Sabres are without Casey Nelson.

Season Series

This game closes out their season series. The Flames beat the Sabres 2-1 in overtime at the end of October.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Sabres Twitter follows for tonight:

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