FGD 69: A clash with the Golden Knights (7:30pm MT, SN One)

For just the second time since late November, the local sports club begins their day in second place.

Seeking to remedy that situation, the Calgary Flames (41-19-7, 89 points) host the third place Vegas Golden Knights (38-26-5, 81 points) this evening at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames are masters of their own playoff destinies at this point, and can determine their opponent by how they play over their final 14 games.

The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. The Flames are a slight (-135) favourite per Oddshark’s moneyline.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

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

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Fantenberg – Andersson

David Rittich starts for the Flames, backed up by Mike Smith. Lines and pairings appear to be reset to the status quo as Flames head coach Bill Peters goes back to the groupings that got his team this far. The expected scratches are Oliver Kylington, Dalton Prout and Alan Quine.

The Flames enter play with a magic number of 6 (wins and Minnesota losses) to clinch a playoff spot, 9.5 (wins and Vegas losses) to clinch home ice in the first round and 15 (wins and San Jose losses) to clinch the Pacific Division and top seed in the Western Conference. They’ve lost four in a row and haven’t done much to help themselves draw these magic numbers down lately – that said, they haven’t been awful on the ice, just less good than they need to be.

The Golden Knights

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Marchessault – Karlsson – Smith
Pacioretty – Stastny – Stone
Nosek – Eakin – Tuch
Carpenter – Bellemare – Reaves

Schmidt – Engelland
McNabb – Theodore
Merrill – Miller

It sounds like Malcolm Subban starts for Vegas, since Marc-Andre Fleury started in Vancouver last night. (That said, Fleury wasn’t particularly busy last night so maybe Vegas goes back to him.) Last night’s scratches were Nick Holden, Valentin Zykov, Brandon Pirri and William Carrier – potentially one of those gentlemen could rotate in given the back-to-back situation. Generally speaking, expect the same Golden Knights team that beat the Flames four days ago.

The Golden Knights have been rolling since the trade deadline. They’re winners of six in a row (and seven of their last ten outings). They’re deep, they’re fast, and they’re talented. The Flames will need to be on their game to avoid another defeat.

The Numbers

Wins 41 38
Points 89 81
Adjusted Corsi 53.3% 54.5%
Power Play 21.7% 17.4%
Penalty Kill 79.3% 82.1%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Michael Stone and James Neal.

The Golden Knights are without Erik Haula.

Season Series

This is round three of four between these divisional rivals. Vegas has won two of the previous three meetings, with the home team victorious in each contest.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Golden Knights Twitter follows for tonight:

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