Calgary Flames Game Day 69: A very important trip to Las Vegas (8pm MT, SN1/360/960)

Photo credit:© Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
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A day removed from a tough loss in Tempe, the Calgary Flames (30-24-14, 74 points) head to scenic Paradise, Nevada to face the Vegas Golden Knights (42-20-6, 90 points). It’s the Flames’ ninth visit to T-Mobile Arena. They have never won at that building.
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. MT on Sportsnet One, Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Mangiapane – Lindholm – Toffoli
Lucic – Kadri – Lewis
Huberdeau – Backlund – Coleman
Ritchie – Ruzicka – Dube
Weegar – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Zadorov – Stecher
Jacob Markstrom starts in net, making his eighth start in a row for the Flames. He’s backed up by Dan Vladar. The extra skaters are Walker Duehr, Jakob Pelletier and Dennis Gilbert. Adam Ruzicka and Nick Ritchie slot in, bumping out Duehr and Pelletier. And, per Eric Francis of Sportsnet, brand new forward lines.
The Flames face, to be charitable, an uphill battle to get into the playoffs. Are they doomed? No, there’s a path to the playoffs. But it’s narrow, and it relies on them beating all the teams below them in the standings… and a few that are above ’em. The Golden Knights lead the Pacific Division and the Flames play them twice between now and the end of the season. A viable playoff bath for the Flames involves no more than two regulation losses; they can’t spend both of those Ls on the Golden Knights.
Long story short: the Flames need to find ways to win.

The Golden Knights

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Barbashev – Eichel – Marchessault
Smith – Karlsson – Dorofeyev
Howden – Stephenson – Amadio
Cotter – Blueger – Kessel
Martinez – Pietrangelo
McNabb – Theodore
Hague – Whitecloud
We’re expecting Jonathan Quick to start, backed up by Jiri Patera. Ben Hutton appears to be the lone healthy extra Golden Knights skater, as everybody else is injured right now.
On one hand, the Golden Knights are perpetually capped out and juggling their roster because of a laundry list of injuries. On the other hand, it hasn’t seemed to matter for them. They’re missing key pieces, but they’re creative in terms of roster management, make smart trades, and have managed to avoid consequences from the house of cards they’ve constructed. Even missing a bunch of key bodies, they’re a formidable opponent.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington and Michael Stone.
The Golden Knights are without Robin Lehner, Nolan Patrick, Mark Stone, Logan Thompson, Will Carrier, Adin Hill, Nicolas Roy and Keegan Kolesar.

It’s a race!

The Flames enter Thursday’s games chasing several teams:
  • They’re one point behind Nashville for ninth place, but Nashville has three games in hand.
  • They’re five points behind Winnipeg (for the final wild-card spot).
  • They’re seven points behind Seattle (for the first wild-card spot), but Seattle has a game in hand.
  • They’re eight points behind Edmonton (for the final divisional spot).
To reach 95 points (and have a reasonable chance at a playoff spot), the Flames need 21 points over the final 14 games – that’s a .750 pace in their remaining games.
If the season ended today, by virtue of points percentage, the Flames would be drafting 14th overall (before the lottery).

The numbers

FlamesGolden Knights
74 (.544)Points (%)90 (.662)

Head to head

This is game 3 of 4 of the season series. The home team has won each of the first two meetings, with the Flames getting a regulation win and an overtime loss thus far. The season series will be completed on Mar. 23 in Calgary.

Social life

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