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Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 66: Here come the Leafs (7pm MT, SN West)

Saturday night was about fanfare and ballyhoo at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Monday night is about the home team getting back to work.

The Calgary Flames (41-17-7, 89 points) get their one annual visit from the Toronto Maple Leafs (40-21-4, 84 points), the country’s most or least popular team depending on where you live. Coming off a tough loss on Saturday, the Flames will be dialed-in and will hopefully feed off what will be a boisterous crowd.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

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

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson

David Rittich will start for the home team, backed up by Mike Smith. The expected healthy scratches are Oscar Fantenberg, Dalton Prout and Curtis Lazar. Oliver Kylington returns to action after missing a couple games with a lingering shot block injury.

The Flames lost on Saturday by a 4-2 score, their first such loss in eight games. Their skaters weren’t overly sharp in the third period and lost because (a) they couldn’t turn a huge possession edge into a lot of goals in the first 40 minutes and (b) their goaltending didn’t bail them out. Well, they’re facing a fast, talented Leafs club, so they’ll need to be at their best.

The Maple Leafs

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Hyman – Tavares – Marner
Johnsson – Matthews – Kapanen
Marleau – Nylander – Brown
Ennis – Gauthier – Moore

Rielly – Hainsey
Muzzin – Zaitsev
Marincin – Ozhiganov

Frederik Andersen starts for Toronto, backed up by Garret Sparks. The projected healthy scratches are Justin Holl and Nic Petan.

The Leafs are a pretty deep, fast, talented team. They’ve been humming along nicely since before the trade deadline, aside from a 6-1 loss to the New York Islanders last week. They’re a good team and this game should be a big, big test for the Flames.

The Numbers

CGY TOR
Wins 41 40
Points 89 84
Adjusted Corsi 53.4% 51.6%
Power Play 21.8% 22.4%
Penalty Kill 79.5% 80.4%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Michael Stone and James Neal.

The Maple Leafs are without Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner and Travis Dermott.

Season Series

This is the second and final game between these teams this season. The Flames beat the Leafs 3-1 in Toronto back in October.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Leafs Twitter follows for today:

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  • Flames fan since 83

    Good Hathaway didn’t get suspended. We’ll need his speed to finish off checks.
    Rittich in net makes me happy as well.
    I didn’t mind Fantenberg, but I did notice his foot speed is below average. Kylington might be a better choice for tonight providing he is healthy.
    I’ll be at the game cheering for the Flames. No doubt surrounded by hordes of stinkin Blue and White.

    • Em Durp Em Hrudey

      Would it hurt the team to get Lazar in on the 4th line for a couple games? He has been a good soldier all season, he could easily fit in place of Mangiapane. May require him in the playoffs so keeping the rust off might be a good idea. Interested to see the fans reaction if BSD has an off game tonight. Smith gets the night off to work on his evil plans of global warming and stealing food from the homeless…

      • Cfan in Van

        Agree about giving Lazar a try, he’s been sitting a while.

        Who would you start tonight in net? If it’s not BSD after what we watched on Saturday, I think you’re out to lunch.

        • Em Durp Em Hrudey

          I would start BSD tonight as well. Win your in, lose have a seat. They are both good goalies in spite of what is said on here. You do not sit second in the league with horrible goaltending.
          Perhaps Lazar is given a look after they clinch their playoff spot.

          • THE WW Bandwagon

            Hrudey Hrudey, the only reason why Smith’s win % looks good and the reason why we are 2nd in the whole league is because of our first halfs offense.
            That offense won us SO many games when our goalkeepers were shakey.
            Yea Smith has been decent lately but most goalies go on hot streaks.
            Smith just cant win when the pressure is on.

        • The Red Knight

          Mangy is going to be a decent point producer , he’s has the hands to go with the IQ . Why would you mess with what’s been probably the most consistent line since the allstar break? No knock on Lazar I just don’t see who you take out ,

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        I’m not sure where all this positive talk about Lazar is coming from. 12 points in 65 games last year. Was not good enough to beat out Dube or Czarnik for the last spots. Mangiapane outperformed him in the AHL. SO has Quine and Graovac and Rychel. He’s here because of the need for one extra forward. I don’t see how he’s any better than any of the 12 (13 including Neal) forwards.

      • Alberta Ice

        We will need Smith and Rittich to have their A game here on in. Hopefully Mike has learned from his mistakes and will make better decisions now about going after pucks behind his net. Outside of that, I have like what I have been seeing in his play the past few games. GFG.

        • Garry T

          Smith is going to do what Smith wants to do. I would be surprised, happily surprised if he just played in the blue paint. Suspect that is not
          On the horizon.

  • The Sultan

    Would like to see the following players “step-up” for this game:

    * Sean Monahan

    * Johnny Gaudreau

    * Matthew Tkachuk

    * TJ Brodie

    * David Rittich

    If the duo of 13/23 can get white hot again and go on a run to solidify top seed in the West, that’d be great. They’d earn themselves some rest at the end of the season to take care of any nagging injuries and get ready for the playoffs. Rittich also needs to have a strong outing to show he’s the #1 going forward and he’s our guy going into the post-season.

  • Hockeyfan

    seeing JT get booed and the lovefest next game was a joke, showing snowflakes melting all over soft, liberal TO. Flames need to take these chumps and their libby snowflake fans down in BIGLY fashion tonight!!!! Need Sean to keep stepping up. Need BSD to assert himself once more in the coach’s eyes. Need to GET IT DONE CALGARY ALBERTA STYLE!!!!!

  • Hockey4life

    This team still needs more in the off season. Johnny and Monahan are not big game players. They are good but they can’t carry a team. We need a big center who is fast, hits, scores, and is a game changer. It’s not goaltending that’s going to end our playoffs early, it’s the softness of this team. I’m just being honest.

  • Keith M

    I enjoyed watching the Leafs last year and kind of cheered for them for the first time ever. I liked how Matthews took most of the Eastern media’s attention away from McDavid. This year has been different too much hype at the start of the year and completely soured me. Would love to see the Flames beat them something like 5 – 1.

  • Joeyhere

    What’s with all the political comments today! I get there is a lot of political tension in our world right now and plenty of people are rightfully upset BUT can we leave politics out of our hockey!
    Don’t let politics but a stench on good hockey

    Gig

  • Off the wall

    If there’s one team I enjoy watching lose it’s the Leafs.
    It brought me great joy, reading about Tavares return to NYI, and losing 6-1.

    My older brother would make me play goalie as a kid.
    I had to be Mike Palmateer and he would fire balls at me pretending to be Borje Salming.
    Toronto sucks!

    I was hurt more times than I can recall. No padding, just a baseball glove. One time I took foam from our tent trailer to make goalie pads for my legs, of course at the request of my older brother. My father wasn’t impressed. I was grounded for weeks. My brother threw me under the bus, said it was ALL my idea. Jerk!

    My brother was a big time Leafs fan, and I disliked them from the time I was a young kid. Wonder why?

    If we beat the Leafs, I’ll be tickled RED.

    Let’s go Rittich and Flames!
    I’m counting on you…

    • Jobu

      Unfortunately The only teams Jobu hates are Canadian teams
      – Vancouver, because of my hatred for Bertuzzi, Bure, Kesler, Bieksa, Burrows, Luongo, and the Sedins and a general hatred for their fan base. Jobu has had run-ins with them that were quite rude and often violent. Jobu wasn’t surprised the riot broke out after the finals loss. GO BRUINS!
      – Edmonton, for known tradition/rivalry reasons. Out of these three I hate the Oil the least, likely because they have been the least threatening for SO long, and their fans know hockey at least.
      – Toronto, for the overflow of media and the ignorance it causes. Its just shows how ridiculous the TO media is around that club and all the unwanted and unwarranted attention they get – it pumps delusion and propaganda into their fan-base – makes them hard to respect.

      Lets bring those leafers down to earth. GFG!!!

      • deantheraven

        I’m with Jobu for hating the Canucks and their fans. I hate the Oilers because, Edmonton.
        And TO sucks because of their blinkered media, and because if it is the centre of the universe as us Westerners often decry, it is a black hole that sucks all the energy out of the space it tries to fill.
        But the team I hate the most is the Ducks, for the obvious reasons.
        Now, if they were to trade for one of Kesler or Perry in the off season, the Leafs would be number one on the Hate List.
        I don’t hate ’em, yet, but hope we beat the snot out of them anyway. I’ll be happy when the day comes that all the Tronna sports media posts is the box score, in utter humiliation.
        Make it tonight, boys! Shut ’em down, and light ’em up!

      • Al Rain

        If you read the comments on this site (this page…) you’ll notice a few unattractive qualities about our own fan base. Glass houses and all that.

        But yeah, that Leafs media issue is real.

    • deantheraven

      While I didn’t have a brother coercing me into acts of vandalism, I too love to see the Leafs lose.
      I was born in Calgary long before we had an NHL franchise, but no one ever suggested we had to cheer for one of the two Canadian teams. Guess my age yet? If I tell you I was a Bruins fan, that should make it clearer. Naturally, I hated the Habs more. In House League we had 6 teams and I played goal for the Rangers. Eddie Giacomin was no Cheese, so I did up my face mask a la Gerry Cheevers, with stitches for every puck that hit it. I admit that I may have embellished the artwork a bit to include likely injuries caused by tennis balls in the driveway…
      I hated the Habs. They won too many cups. Toronto, not so much… The NHL Leafs seemed like the perennial bridesmaids in those days, making them hard to hate, but still fun to beat.
      I hope history repeats and the Leafs falter, stumble and fall before making it all the way, despite having better players than Sittler and Keon today.
      Starting tonight.
      GFG!

  • Heeeeere’s Johnny

    OTW this May resonate with you. I grew up in the boonies of Northern Ontario. Gravel roads turned into packed snow hockey rinks in the winter so you put on your jersey, grabbed your sticks and got at it pretty much everyday. This happened in the ‘60’s when there were only really red jerseys and blue jerseys. Mine was blue. The street games weren’t much different from the games on B&W TV. Other than being in colour you defended the honour of the jersey. I did this until 1989 when I moved to Calgary just in time to watch the Flames take down the dreaded red (white and blue) guys. Flames fan instantly created … in my world there is no room for divided loyalties.

    Bottom line … I used to be a Leafs fan … but I’m alright nowuuuuuuuuu!!,!

    • Off the wall

      Good story Johnny!
      I was a goalie all the time growing up, so you would have hated playing with me.

      I wasn’t loyal to any team. I’d be Bernie Parent, Tony Esposito, Rogie Vachon, Gerry Cheevers and sometimes Ken Dryden resting my head on the goalie stick as he often did.
      I’d even turncoat and become Tretiak, because he was so good.

      My favourite goalie though, was Pelle Lindbergh.Small, quick and exciting! It’s too bad we never got to see more of him. He might have been the next Dominator of his era ( 80s) like Hasek was in the 90’s.

      It wasn’t until my family moved to Calgary in the late 70’s, (young teen) until I noticed that Calgary even existed and it took me until 1983 to become a true fan.

      It was the Saddledome that made me believe the Flames were so cool. Silly, but true.

      Game on, grab your stick.
      I’ll be Rittich. Nothing gets past me tonight!

      • deantheraven

        I loved Rogatien Vachon, especially after he left Montreal.
        Hated every other Habs goalie ever.
        Seeing Patrick Roy’s heartbroken, teary masked face at the end there in the Former Fabulous Forum is right up there with the birth of my son.
        My son looks nothing like Patrick anymore. He’s ten now.

        • Off the wall

          That’s funny Dean. I must admit I was never a Patrick Roy fan.
          Never pretended I was him in goal, ever. Game 6, it was like yesterday. Love that we beat Les Habs in their own rink!

          The Summit Series was the reason I became a Dryden fan.
          Do you remember watching it in school? I do!

          We were all glued to the tv, and we didn’t have to do school work. That was right up my alley. I can still remember where I was sitting in that small school in Northern Ontario.

          I hope that kids today get to experience something special like that…

    • Chucky

      Those of us that grew up in the 50s and 60s know that there were only two teams and if you live in Ontario it was more intense. The Chief gave me a MVP award so I was painted Blue, There were two cute girls that lived just down the street but I did not talk to them (in the winter) because their uncle was Andy Bathgate, and Gerry Cheevers dad owned the corner store and there were days when I would walk an extra few blocks to go to a different store even when the they were bottom dwellers. Kids would not admit if they were related to somebody on Detroit, Chicago or the hated enemy. remember how exiting it was the year Pete Stemkowski won the Stanley Cup. That was two ears after we got a 14″ B&W TV (my parents thought it would rot my mind and ruin my vision). It was even exciting when they drafted Lanny.
      If it was not for Jim Coleman writing about the 1975 Grey Cup in Calgary moving west would have been a consideration, but those article made Calgary a place I had to live. With the great help of Harold Ballard, was able to leave the Leafs and become a Flames fan.
      I can testify that enlightenment is a great thing but I cannot hate the Leafs, that would be to deny the anticipation of Foster Hewitt at 8:30 on Saturday night, the excitement of the 1967 Cup, my brother’s first trip to the Gardens on his 13th birthday (and my envy) and getting to go when I was 13 (born in July so an early season game). It is a great trip down memory lane to remember being a Leafs fan, but when, your heart lives in Calgary you live in the present and embrace the future. So 12-0 Flames with Johnny and Mony having 11 points each is good with me

        • Captain Ron

          OK. I grew up in Winnipeg and spent a lot of time in NW Ontario. Kenora, Dryden, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Fort Frances etc. Thunder Bay a few times. Loved spending time there in both winter and summer. Was a Leafs fan as a kid and also watched lots of hockey on B&W TV’s. Then became a Jets fan but now a Flames fan for the last 20 years.

  • ZZMiddle

    It has been a reasonably fun season, the first in a long time, but this aint no top team. Out in the 1st round. Still a couple seasons and some good managing away from going deep in the playoffs.