Calgary Flames Game Day 37: Visiting the Wild to kick off 2024 (6pm MT)

Photo credit:Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
5 months ago
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Happy New Year! As the calendar turns to 2024, the Calgary Flames (15-16-5, 35 points) are hitting the road for four games as they try to make up ground in the Western Conference’s playoff picture. First up? A team just above them in the table, the Minnesota Wild (16-15-4, 36 points), a team that’s suddenly a bit hamstrung by key injuries.
The broadcast begins at 6 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. The Flames opened as +105 underdogs against the Wild on Betway.

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Huberdeau – Lindholm – Sharangovich
Zary – Kadri – Pospisil
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Greer – Ruzicka – Dube
Hanifin – Tanev
Oesterle – Weegar
Gilbert – Andersson
We’re projecting Jacob Markstrom to start in net, backed up by Dan Vladar. Based on morning skate, the projected extra skaters are Nick DeSimone and Walker Duehr.
The Flames did a lot of good things on Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers, especially getting some offensive contributions from obscure players like Andrew Mangiapane and Jonathan Huberdeau. The big challenge as they head on the road will be to make sure all three of their top forward lines can get cooking. On paper, a Flames team with three effective lines is tough to counter. In reality, that hasn’t transpired often enough.
A victory gets the Flames back to the .500 mark. They haven’t been north of .500 since Oct. 19 and if they want to get into the playoff mix… they’ll need to get significantly north of .500.

The Wild

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Johansson – Eriksson Ek – Boldy
Petan – Rossi – Hartman
Foligno – Gaudreau – Maroon
Duhaime – Dewar – Lucchini
Middleton – Faber
Goligoski – Spurgeon
Mermis – Bogosian
We’re projecting Marc-Andre Fleury to start in net, backed up by Zane McIntyre. Their extra healthy skater is Jon Merrill. The bad news for the Wild is that they’ve placed the superb Jonas Gustavsson on the IR. The good news is that they’ve got a legit Hall of Fame goaltender as their Plan B. Reports from the rink – via the Star-Tribune’s Sarah McLellan – indicate that the Wild could go seven defenders, 11 forwards as Marcus Foligno is a game-time decision. Sammy Walker has been called up from the AHL and seems likely to be a scratch.
The Wild have had ups and downs this year, which have resulted in a coaching change and then a great run under new bench boss John Hynes. They’re a bit hammered by injuries right now, both big and small, but they’re a team that’s got depth, structure, and more than a few really talented young players. If you’re not on your toes against the Wild, they can hurt you.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington, Jakob Pelletier and Kevin Rooney.
The Wild are without Jonas Brodin, Mats Zuccarello, Kirill Kaprizov, Jonas Gustavsson and Vinni Lettieri.

The numbers

35 (.486)Points (%)36 (.514)

Head to head

This is the third and final game between these teams this season. The Wild have two wins over the Flames: once in regulation and once in a shootout.

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