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Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

FGD 16: What a surprise, Vancouver again! (8pm MT, SN1)

For the sixth time this season, and fourth time over the past seven days, the Calgary Flames (8-6-1, 17 points) are playing the Vancouver Canucks (7-11-1, 15 points). This time, for a fun change of pace, they’ll be playing at the palatial Scotiabank Saddledome, though. The Flames were awful on Saturday and much improved, albeit imperfect, on Monday. If the Flames can put together a better start, perhaps they can grind out another two points against one of the most bitter, long-standing NHL rivals.

The puck drops just after 8 p.m. MT and you can catch the action on Sportsnet One or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

For a view from the other side, visit the fine folks over at Canucks Army!

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The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Lindholm – Mangiapane
Gaudreau – Monahan – Simon
Lucic – Backlund – Dube
Nordstrom – Froese – Bennett

Giordano – Valimaki
Hanifin – Tanev
Nesterov – Andersson

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Jacob Markstrom is tonight’s starter, backed up by David Rittich – yep, for the seventh consecutive game and 14th time in 16 games overall. Based on reports from morning skate, it sounds like Mikael Backlund and Nikita Nesterov both slot back in, which pushes Buddy Robinson and Connor Mackey to the sidelines (and Sam Bennett to the fourth line). Josh Leivo is the projected scratch. The taxi squad is Louis Domingue, Connor Mackey, Oliver Kylington, Byron Froese, Zac Rinaldo and Robinson, with Froese likely being activated for tonight’s game.

Meat Loaf once declared (in song) that two out of three ain’t bad. The Flames won two out of three in Vancouver, but they’re probably a bit disappointing in how uneven they were between and within those games. The Flames are seeking consistency and trying to put together a good 60 minute effort, and then string a few of those together.

The Canucks

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Boeser – Pettersson – Miller
Pearson – Horvat – Hoglander
Roussel – Gaudette – Sutter
Eriksson – Beagle – Virtanen

Edler – Schmidt
Juolevi – Myers
Hughes – Benn

In a minor change from the last few games, Braden Holtby starts for the Canucks, backed up by Thatcher Demko. Their active extras are Jalen Chatfield and Zach MacEwen. Their taxi squad is Michael DiPietro, Guillaume Brisebois, Jack Rathbone, Brogan Rafferty and Marc Michaelis.

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The Canucks have played pretty well over the past couple of games, so don’t expect to see many, if any, significant changes. They were a bit leaky defensively last game and let the Flames back into things after a pretty good first period, so perhaps we’ll see the Canucks try to get more clean offensive looks early in the game before the Flames realize a game is going on.

The numbers

Calgary Vancouver
Wins 8 7
Points (%) 17 (.567) 15 (.395)
Adjusted Corsi For 50.5% 47.8%
Expected Goals 53.0% 47.3%
Power Play 22.0% 17.4%
Penalty Kill 79.3% 81.8%

The drive to 65

If you peruse most standings projections, it becomes apparent that 65 points probably gets you into the playoffs. That’s a 32-23-1 record, or thereabouts, or a .580 points percentage.

The Flames have an 8-6-1 record, 17 points, and a .567 points percentage. They need 48 more points to punch their ticket to the post-season, the equivalent of a .600 points percentage over the remaining 40 games.

Unfit to play report

The Flames are without Derek Ryan.

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The Canucks are without Justin Bailey, Tyler Motte, Travis Hamonic, Micheal Ferland and Jayce Hawryluk.

When last we met

The Flames have beaten Vancouver four times this season – by scores of 3-0, 5-2, 3-1 and 4-3 – but lost 3-1 in a pretty rough game, as well. After tonight, they won’t see each other again until Mar. 31.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest: