FGD 75: A Pacific coast showdown (8pm MT, CBC)

With just two weeks remaining in the season, the locals can get a step closer to clinching a division crown against a divisional rival.

The Calgary Flames (46-21-7, 99 points) head west to visit the Vancouver Canucks (32-32-10, 74 points). Both teams are on winning streaks, but the Canucks are still outside of the playoff picture.

The puck drops at 8 p.m. MT and it’s the late game on Hockey Night in Canada (CBC, Sportsnet West, 360, One and City TV) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. The Flames opened as a slight (-165) favourite per Oddshark’s moneyline.

For a view from the other side, check out Canucks Army!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

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

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Fantenberg – Andersson

Mike Smith starts, backed up by David Rittich. James Neal returns to the lineup, taking the place of the now-injured Sam Bennett (no word yet on the severity of his injury) on the third line. The other scratches will be the usual mix of Dalton Prout, Oliver Kylington, Michael Stone and Alan Quine.

The Flames have won five of their last six games and keep chugging along. Unlike past vintages of the team, they’ve done what they can to make life easier for themselves down the stretch – aside from that four game skid that followed the trade deadline. Their magic number to clinch top spot in the Pacific Division and Western Conference is 5.5 – any combination of Flames wins and Sharks losses adding to 5.5 gets them that spot.

The Canucks

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Pearson – Horvat – Eriksson
Leivo – Pettersson – Boeser
Granlund – Gaudette – Virtanen
Schaller – Beagle – Motte

Edler – Biega
Brisebois – Stecher
Sautner – Schenn

It appears that Jacob Markstrom starts, backed up by Thatcher Demko. The projected scratches are Derrick Pouliot, Josh Teves, Nikolai Goldobin and Ryan Spooner.

The Canucks are a talented, young, fast hockey team. But they’re also green as grass, meaning they haven’t yet found the consistency that often comes from experience. They’re a .500 team this season and over their last .500 games. They’re a tough out due to how well some of their key players can play, but they’re a long shot to make the post-season.

The Numbers

Wins 46 32
Points 99 74
Adjusted Corsi 53.8% 47.8%
Power Play 21.1% 15.9%
Penalty Kill 80.0% 80.4%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Sam Bennett.

The Canucks are without Brandon Sutter, Ben Hutton, Sven Baertschi, Antoine Roussel, Quinn Hughes and Chris Tanev.

Season Series

This is the fifth of five meetings between these teams this season. The Flames have a win, a regulation loss, an overtime loss and a shootout loss to show for it. Put another way: in four games, they’ve earned four points against the Canucks.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Canucks Twitter follows for tonight:

FGD brought to you by ATB Financial

From peewee to the pros, Albertans love the atmosphere, energy, and life lessons that take place at rinks across the province. And where there’s an arena, you’ll find an ATB branch nearby—with our team members cheering and fundraising along with you. See more information at ATB.com.