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Calgary Flames Game Day 53: A brunch game in Buffalo (10:30am MT, SN1/960)

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Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
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After capturing just one point in their first two games following the All-Star Break, the Calgary Flames (24-18-10, 58 points) aim to get back into the win column with an early matinee game against the Buffalo Sabres (26-20-4, 56 points). The Sabres are young, scrappy, and pushing for a playoff spot ahead of schedule. Can the Flames find a way to get two much-needed points?
The broadcast begins at 10:30 a.m. MT on Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Dube – Lindholm – Toffoli
Pelletier – Kadri – Huberdeau
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Lucic – Lewis – Ritchie
Hanifin – Tanev
Zadorov – Weegar
Gilbert – Stone
We’re projecting Dan Vladar to start, backed up by Jacob Markstrom. The projected extras are Connor Mackey and Adam Ruzicka. Rasmus Andersson will miss his second consecutive game after being hit by a car. Update: Markstrom starts.
The Flames aren’t a bad team. They’re not amazing either. They’re pretty good, but they’re not great. They lack consistency this season, and they’re essentially in the spot they are now where they need to grind to generate offence and capture points. They need to embrace the grind over the next 30 games and figure out a way to string some wins together, otherwise they’ll maintain their current spot outside of the playoff cutline.

The Sabres

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Skinner – Thompson – Tuch
Peterka – Cozens – Quinn
Mittelstadt – Jost – Olofsson
Girgensons – Krebs – Okposo
Samuelsson – Dahlin
Power – Jokiharju
Bryson – Lyubushkin
We’re projecting Buffalo’s starter to be Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, backed up by one of Craig Anderson or Eric Comrie. The projected extra skaters are Rasmus Asplund and Kale Clague. Since the beginning of January, Luukkonen has appeared in 10 of Buffalo’s 16 games (and has six of their eight wins).
The Sabres are a weird team. They’re in that awkward middle stage of their rebuild, where a few holdover veterans are still around, but the young guys are very much driving the bus now. And it’s working! Rasmus Dahlin is a beast. Owen Power is progressing. They have a bunch of young guys who are impressing – most notably goal machine Tage Thompson, who returns from injury on Saturday.
The Sabres are going to be really good once their young guys finish blossoming. But they’re pretty good now, and they’re a tough night at the office for most teams.

Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson.
The Sabres are without Ben Bishop.

The numbers

FlamesSabres
24Wins26
58 (.558)Points (%)56 (.560)
54.1xGF%50.2
19.0PP%25.3
82.3PK%73.3

Head to head

This is the second of two games between these teams this season. The Sabres beat the Flames in Calgary back in October by a 6-3 score. Markstrom was chased at the end of the first period.

Social life

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