Calgary Flames Game Day 70: A Saturday night with the Stars (8pm MT, CBC/SNW/960)

Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
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On Thursday night, the Calgary Flames (31-24-14, 76 points) faced one of the Western Conference’s best teams and won. On Saturday night, they’ll have to do it again against the Dallas Stars (37-19-13, 87 points). The Flames beat Vegas thoroughly on Thursday. They need to replicate that effort and result, because they really need the points to stay afloat in the Western Conference’s playoff race.
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. MT on CBC, Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Mangiapane – Lindholm – Toffoli
Huberdeau – Backlund – Coleman
Dube – Kadri – Duehr
Ritchie – Ruzicka – Lewis
Weegar – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Zadorov – Stecher
We’re expecting Jacob Markstrom to start in net, making his ninth start in a row for the Flames. He’s backed up by Dan Vladar. The extra skaters are Milan Lucic, Jakob Pelletier and Dennis Gilbert.
The new lines are a bit odd, in the sense that there’s a well-defined top six (the Backlund and Lindholm lines) and bottom six (Kadri and Ruzicka). But the lines that worked (the top six) worked really well, with the new-look Lindholm trio essentially scoring four goals. That’s great, and at this point we can nitpick things all we want, but the important thing is the hockey club figuring out a way to land this plane.
And so the top six is being kept together against Dallas, while the bottom six is being shifted around against Dallas: Lucic comes out from line 3, Duehr comes in from the press box in his place, and Dube and Lewis switch places. It’s tinkering that makes a lot of sense given the results we’ve seen.
The process has been fairly good all season. Sometimes really good. But the results have not been there consistently, and the clock is ticking.

The Stars

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Robertson – Hintz – Pavelski
Benn – Johnston – Dadonov
Domi – Faksa – Dellandrea
Kiviranta – Glendening
Heiskanen – Miller
Lindell – Hakanpaa
Suter – Hanley
We’re projecting Jake Oettinger to start in net, backed up by Matthew Murray. Their lone healthy extra is Frederik Olofsson. The Stars are slated to go with 11 forwards and seven defenders.
Since the Stars last saw the Flames in a 5-4 loss on Mar. 6, they rattled off three wins in a row, but then lost back-to-back road games in Vancouver and Edmonton. They’re a good team, but they’ve been hit with injuries lately and they’ve been finding ways to lose. They’re too deep and talented to keep on losing, but they need to find a way to shake themselves out of their mini-funk that they’re in.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington and Michael Stone.
The Stars are without Tyler Seguin, Mason Marchment and Scott Wedgewood.

It’s a race!

The Flames enter Saturday’s games chasing several teams:
  • They’re one point ahead of Nashville for ninth place, but Nashville has three games in hand.
  • They’re three 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 19 points over the final 13 games – that’s a .731 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

76 (.551)Points (%)87 (.630)

Head to head

This is the third and final meeting in this season series. The Flames beat Dallas twice, both times in Texas. This is the one and only meeting between these teams in Calgary.

Social life

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