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Calgary Flames Game Day 49: Trying to get back to .500 against Chicago (8pm MT)

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Photo credit:Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
25 days ago
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Mired in a four game skid, the Calgary Flames (21-22-5, 47 points) look to close out their schedule prior to the All-Star break on a winning note. Their obstacle on Saturday night is the Chicago Blackhawks (14-33-2, 30 points), a team low in the standings that has flummoxed the Flames in recent years. Can the Flames overcome the Hawks and head into the break sitting firmly at the .500 mark?
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. MT on CBC, Sportsnet West (and East and Ontario) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. The Flames opened as -260 favourites against the Blackhawks on Betway.

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Huberdeau – Kadri – Zary
Sharangovich – Lindholm – Coronato
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Duehr – Schwindt – Klapka
Hanifin – Tanev
Gilbert – Andersson
Kylington – Weegar
We’re projecting Jacob Markstrom to start for the Flames in net, backed up by Dan Vladar. Jordan Oesterle appears to be the odd man out on the blueline. Blake Coleman didn’t skate with the main group and Martin Pospisil did, but head coach Ryan Huska informed the media post-skate that Coleman is good to go and Pospisil is not – Pospisil remains on injury reserve as of this writing.
The other twist: some line shuffling! Jonathan Huberdeau and Matt Coronato switched lines, and it looks like we’ll see Oliver Kylington and MacKenzie Weegar on a pairing, at least for some of the game. Huska referenced a bit of staleness in the forward lines as the reason behind some tweaks, as well as giving Kylington some on-ice support as he ramps up his workload.
The Flames have lost four in a row. Two of those losses were pretty good, albeit flawed, efforts against a pair of high-powered teams in Edmonton and Toronto that have stars that can be difference-makers for their clubs. The two most recent games, cited by head coach Ryan Huska after Thursday’s loss, were games where the Flames seemed to lack a ton of energy and pace – two things they need to have to win games. With over a week off after Saturday until their return to action in Boston, you’d hope they have a better effort against Chicago.
The Flames enter action on Saturday sitting six points behind Nashville for the final Western Conference wild card playoff spot.

The Blackhawks

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Foligno – Kurashev – Raddysh
Blackwell – Dickinson – Anderson
Reichel – Entwistle – Donato
Katchouk – Sanford – Johnson
Vlasic – Jones
Korchinski – Megna
Tinordi – Phillips
We’re projecting Petr Mrazek to start in net, backed up by Arvid Soderblom. The projected extra skaters are Louis Crevier, Rem Pitlick and Cole Guttman. The Blackhawks are currently missing seven regulars from their opening day lineup.
The Blackhawks haven’t won a road game since Nov. 9, with their loss against the Oilers representing their 19th consecutive road L. They’ve also lost three in a row outright on their current streak. They’ve had weirdly good performances against the Flames, though, with the Flames riding a four game losing streak against Chicago (0-3-1). Something’s gotta give: either Chicago’s losing streak on the road, or the Flames’ losing streak and general poor run of performances against the Blackhawks.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Dillon Dube, Martin Pospisil and A.J. Greer.
The Blackhawks are without Taylor Hall, Andreas Athanasiou, Connor Bedard, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Zaitsev, Anthony Beauvillier and Connor Murphy.

The numbers

FlamesBlackhawks
21Wins14
47 (.490)Points (%)30 (.306)
49.5%
(19th)
xGF%42.4%
(26th)
13.3%
(30th)
PP%12.6%
(32nd)
84.1%
(3rd)
PK%76.8%
(25th)

Head to head

This is the second of three meetings between the Flames and Blackhawks this season. Chicago beat the Flames at the beginning of January. They’ll close out their season series at the United Center in late March.

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