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Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Flames Playoff Game Day: Looking for a successful return home in Game 5 (7:30pm MT, CBC/SN)

After two eventful games in Texas, the Calgary Flames (2-2; 1st place, Pacific Division) return home for Game 5 of their first round series with the Dallas Stars (2-2; 1st wildcard seed, Western Conference)! The Flames evened the series up on Monday night with a superb 60 minutes of ice hockey. If they have another one of those in them, they could be headed back to Texas for Game 6 on Friday night looking for a series clincher. If not, life will get a bit more nervous for the gentlemen in red.

The festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. MT. You can catch the game on CBC and Sportnet’s national feed in Canada (with Rick Ball and Greg Millen), ESPN in the United States (with Leah Hextall and Dominic Moore), and over the airwaves on Sportsnet 960 The Fan (with Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias)!

The Flames

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

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Johnny GaudreauElias LindholmMatthew Tkachuk
Andrew MangiapaneMikael BacklundTyler Toffoli
Dillon DubeCalle JarnkrokBlake Coleman
Milan LucicTrevor Lewis – (Brett Ritchie or rotating)

Noah HanifinRasmus Andersson
Oliver KylingtonChris Tanev
Nikita ZadorovErik Gudbranson
(Michael Stone)

Jacob Markstrom [2-2, 1.27 GAA, .952 SV%] starts in net, backed up by Daniel Vladar. The scratches are expected to be goaltender Adam Werner, blueliner Connor Mackey, and forwards Ryan Carpenter and Adam Ruzicka, and either Michael Stone or Brett Ritchie. Per Pat Steinberg, neither player skated late so it’s unclear whether the Flames are rolling with the same lineup as Game 4 (11 forwards and seven defenders) or their Game 3 group (12 forwards and six defenders). As usual, head coach Darryl Sutter offered no hints, so we’ll find out at warm-up. Or maybe just when lineups get locked in after warm-up.

So what worked for the Flames in Game 4? Quite a bit, actually. They stuck to five-on-five more than they have for most of the series, and they were very good at five-on-five. They generated oodles of shots, chances, high-danger chances and, eventually, goals. Their best players were their best players, particularly their top line of Gaudreau, Lindholm and Tkachuk. Running with 11 forwards allowed them to throw unique forward combinations at Dallas, which seemed to confuse and confound the Stars. In short: the Flames were very good, and the better team.

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Keep an eye on Andrew Mangiapane. He didn’t play a ton late in Calgary’s win on Monday night. If he can have a strong bounce-back performance, the Flames could be a really dangerous team to play against.

The Stars

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Michael RafflRoope HintzJoe Pavelski
Jason Robertson – Jamie BennTyler Seguin
Jacob PetersonVladislav NamestnikovLuke Glendening
Joel KivirantaRadek FaksaMarian Studenic

Ryan SuterMiro Heiskanen
Joel HanleyJohn Klingberg
Esa Lindell – Jani Hakanpaa

Jake Oettinger [2-2, 1.53 GAA, .960 SV%] starts for the Stars, backed up by Scott Wedgewood. The scratches are expected to be goalie Adam Scheel, defencemen Andrej Sekera and Thomas Harley, and forwards Alexander Radulov and Denis Gurianov. The changes look to be Peterson and Studenic in for Radulov and Gurianov, and every single forward line and two of their three defensive pairings have been shuffled up.

With the Stars smarting after Game 4, expect them to attempt to besiege the Flames early in this contest – similar to what Los Angeles did in Edmonton and Tampa did in Toronto on Tuesday evening. If the Stars are going to win Game 4, they’ll need to rack up some chances and goals early on and then revert to clogging up the middle of the ice.

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The numbers

Calgary Dallas
Wins 2 2
Adjusted Corsi For 61.2% 38.8%
Expected Goals For 59.6% 40.4%
Power Play 11.8% 11.8%
Penalty Kill 88.2% 88.2%

Unfit to play

The Flames are without Sean Monahan.

The Stars are without Braden Holtby.

When last we met

The Flames won two out of three meetings in the regular season – their lone loss was in overtime – and they’ve split four meetings so far in the post-season.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest:

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