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Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 19: Journey to the centre of the universe (5pm MT, SN West)

In the midst of a slide down the standings, the Calgary Flames (8-9-1, 17 points) are back in action on Monday night and they face a stiff test in the form of the top team in the entire National Hockey League, the Toronto Maple Leafs (14-3-2, 30 points). The Flames need to get back on track, both points-wise and performance-wise, and the Leafs could either be a great opponent to help them snap out of their funk… or the latest team to pummel them defensively.

The puck drops just after 5 p.m. MT and you can catch the action on Sportsnet West or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

For a view from the other side, visit the fine folks over at Leafs Nation!

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The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Lindholm – Mangiapane
Gaudreau – Monahan – Bennett
Lucic – Backlund – Dube
Nordstrom – Gawdin – Leivo

Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Valimaki – Kylington

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Jacob Markstrom starts for the Flames, backed up by David Rittich… Update: Markstrom is day-to-day with an injury, so David Rittich starts and is backed up by Artyom Zagidulin.

The active projected scratches are Buddy Robinson, Dominik Simon and Nikita Nesterov. The taxi squad is Artyom Zagidulin, Michael Stone, Oliver Kylington (who will be activated for the game), Byron Froese, Zac Rinaldo and Brett Ritchie. Sean Monahan returns after missing two games with an injury and Kylington plays his first game of the season (and his first NHL game since Feb. 23, 2020).

The Flames have lost three in a row and four of their last five. In the four games they’ve lost, they’ve scored four goals total and allowed 17 against. So, uh, stop doing that. The Flames have been a maddeningly inconsistent group, with most of their inconsistency being related to their play away from the puck. They’re a talented group with the puck, albeit one prone to occasional weird puck management decisions, but they gave Edmonton way too many good looks on Saturday.

The Maple Leafs

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tavares – Matthews – Marner
Barabanov – Kerfoot – Nylander
Vesey – Engvall – Mikheyev
Petan – Boyd – Spezza

Rielly – Brodie
Dermott – Holl
Lehtonen – Bogosian

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Frederik Andersen starts for Toronto, backed up by Michael Hutchinson. Update: Andersen is day-to-day, so Michael Hutchinson starts, backed up by Joseph Woll.

The Leafs have no healthy extras, so Barabanov and Petan will be activated from the taxi squad for tonight’s game. The other taxi bodies are Joseph Woll, Martin Marincin, Scott Sabourin and Alex Galchenyuk. Jake Muzzin will be out for a little bit after breaking a bone in his foot, while Joe Thornton and Zach Hyman are out day-to-day.

The Flames need to get rubber on the road standings-wise and this is a fairly depleted Leafs squad injury-wise. Are they a pushover? Well, no, because they still have some players like Auston Matthews that give defensemen league-wide actual nightmares. But after getting their show run by Connor McDavid on Saturday, perhaps the Flames will play smarter defense and not give a high-end player a chance to go Harlem Globetrotters on them.

Also, the Leafs have a deadly power play. Don’t take penalties against them.

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The numbers

Calgary Toronto
Wins 8 14
Points (%) 17 (.472) 30 (.789)
Adjusted Corsi For 50.7% 50.2%
Expected Goals For 53.4% 50.5%
Power Play 20.3% 37.5%
Penalty Kill 77.1% 80.3%

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 8-9-1 record, 17 points, and an .472 points percentage. They need 48 more points to punch their ticket to the post-season with 38 games remaining, which would translate to a .632 points percentage over the remaining games.

Unfit to play report

The Flames are without Derek Ryan.

The Leafs are without Wayne Simmonds, Jack Campbell, Jake Muzzin, Zach Hyman and Joe Thornton. Hyman and Thornton are considered day-to-day.

When last we met

These teams met back in January in Calgary, with the Leafs taking a pair of tight, one-goal games. The Flames played pretty well in each game, all-told, but lost 3-2 and 4-3.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest: