Calgary Flames Game Day 66: Welcoming Noah Hanifin and the Golden Knights back to town (7pm MT)

Photo credit:© Stephen R. Sylvanie - USA Today
Ryan Pike
3 months ago
Brought to you by odds site Betway
The playoff math is currently pretty daunting for the Calgary Flames (31-29-5, 67 points), as they sit 10 points out of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference with 17 games to go. But that math could become downright impossible on Thursday, as the Flames face the team they’re chasing, the Vegas Golden Knights (35-23-7, 77 points). The Flames have lost four of their last five games, and are in danger of falling out of the post-season mix altogether.
The broadcast begins at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. The Flames opened as +140 underdogs against the Golden Knights on Betway.

The Flames

Projected lines via Sportsnet’s Pat Steinberg:
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Huberdeau – Kadri – Pospisil
Hunt – Sharangovich – Coronato
Pelletier – Rooney – Duehr
Kylington – Andersson
Weegar – Miromanov
Okhotiuk – Pachal
We’re projecting Dustin Wolf to start in net, backed up by Dan Vladar. We’re anticipating that the healthy extras for this game are Dennis Gilbert and Joel Hanley. We’re expecting the Flames to be without Andrei Kuzmenko and Jacob Markstrom once again, though Andrew Mangiapane returns after missing Tuesday’s game due to illness.
The Flames have a specific way they probably need to play to have success based on how they’re built right now. But they’ve gotten away from it a bit lately, with head coach Ryan Huska pointing out that the team’s push-back has diminished a bit – and that may be a bit of a product of the number of one-sided games they’ve been involved in.
When the Flames roll four lines and three pairings that all play with intensity and structure, they’re capable of beating a lot of teams. But when that structure and consistency isn’t there, they have challenges.

The Golden Knights

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Barbashev – Eichel – Marchessault
Howden – Stephenson – Mantha
Dorofeyev – Karlsson – Amadio
Cotter – Roy – Kolesar
Hanifin – Pietrangelo
McNabb – Theodore
Hague – Whitecloud
We’re projecting Adin Hill to start for Vegas, backed up by Logan Thompson. The projected extra skater is Ben Hutton. (Because the Golden Knights are cap-challenged, they typically only carry one or two extras.)
In case you hadn’t heard Vegas has added some new faces, including longtime Flames blueliner Noah Hanifin (who’ll be playing his first road game in Calgary since Oct. 19, 2017), Anthony Mantha and Tomas Hertl (who’s currently on the shelf). The Golden Knights got out to an awesome start this season, but have slid down the standings a bit to the point where they’re comfortably in a playoff spot but are in the wild card mix now rather than having a divisional spot sewn up.
But even with injuries and a team that hasn’t quite lived up to expectations this season, Vegas is a stacked team that knows how to win when the chips are down. They won the Stanley Cup last season. They’re quite good, and they’ll be a big challenge for the Flames.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Dillon Dube, A.J. Greer, Connor Zary, Jacob Markstrom and Andrei Kuzmenko.
The Golden Knights are without Robin Lehner, Mark Stone, Tomas Hertl, Alec Martinez and William Carrier.

The numbers

FlamesGolden Knights
67 (.515)Points (%)77 (.592)

Head to head

This is the finale of their four game season series. In three prior match-ups, the Flames have won twice (once in regulation and once in overtime) and lost once in overtime, capturing five of a possible six points against Vegas.

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