Calgary Flames Game Day 76: A high-stakes clash with the Canucks (8pm MT, SNW/SN1/960)

Photo credit:© Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
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Against all odds, the Calgary Flames (34-26-15, 83 points) begin Friday just two points out of a playoff spot. So suddenly their visit to the Vancouver Canucks (34-34-6, 74 points) becomes quite important. The Flames can potentially finish the day tied for a playoff spot (and only out on tiebreakers), while the Canucks can attempt to play spoiler in one of two games down the stretch against arguably their most bitter rival.
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West (and the national feed), Sportsnet One, and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!
For a view from the other side, check out Canucks Army!

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Mangiapane – Lindholm – Toffoli
Huberdeau – Backlund – Coleman
Ritchie – Kadri – Dube
Lucic – Lewis – Duehr
Hanifin – Andersson
Zadorov – Weegar
Gilbert – Stecher
We’re projecting Jacob Markstrom to start for the Flames. He’s backed up by Dan Vladar. The projected extras are Michael Stone (now healthy), Jakob Pelletier, Adam Ruzicka and Matt Coronato. We’re expecting Chris Tanev to miss his fifth consecutive game with an upper body injury.
The Flames are a team that’s capable of winning many games. They have enough talent to stick around. It’s just a question of their execution and consistency. Against Los Angeles, they executed well on both sides of the puck and managed not to have any lulls after their three disallowed goals. If they bring that level of determination, focus and discipline to their final seven games, they’ll be a tough team to beat.

The Canucks

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Kuzmenko – Pettersson – Joshua
Di Guiseppe – Miller – Boeser
Beauvillier – Aman – Garland
McDonough – Dries – Studnicka
Hughes – Bear
Brisebois – Myers
Rathbone – Burroughs
We’re projecting Thatcher Demko to start in net, backed up by Collin Dellia. The Canucks have a lot of bodies around, so here’s our best guess: Vasili Podkolzin and Filip Hronek appear to be day-to-day with injuries. The expected extras are Vitali Kravtsov, Christian Wolanin, Noah Juulsen and Akita Hirose. We’ll see at warm-up which players look to be in.
Two things are true right now: The Canucks cannot make the playoffs, and they don’t seem to give a hoot. Under new head coach Rick Tocchet, they’re playing smart, fast, structured hockey. Is it a combination of the “new coach bump” and the team seemingly being relieved that a painful season is almost over? Yeah, sure. So, what? They’re still a tough out and considering they’re a team the Flames need to probably beat twice to make the playoffs, that makes them very, very dangerous.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington and Chris Tanev.
The Canucks are without Micheal Ferland, Tucker Poolman, Tanner Pearson, Travis Dermott, Ilya Mikheyev and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

The playoff race

The Flames enter Friday’s games chasing a few teams:
  • They’re one point ahead of Nashville (for ninth place), but Nashville has one game in hand.
  • They’re two points behind Winnipeg (for the final wild-card spot).
  • They’re seven points behind Seattle (for the first wild-card spot), but Seattle has one game in hand.
To reach 95 points (and have a reasonable chance at a playoff spot), the Flames need 12 points over the final 7 games – that’s an .857 pace in their remaining games.
The Flames’ elimination number is 6.5. Any combination of Flames losses or Winnipeg wins totalling 6.5 eliminates Calgary from playoff contention. The Flames’ magic number is 8. Any combination of Flames wins or Winnipeg losses totalling 8 eliminates the Jets from playoff contention.

The numbers

83 (.553)Points (%)74 (.500)

Head to head

The Flames have a win and a shootout loss against the Canucks this season. They’ll meet one more time on Apr. 8, the final Saturday of the regular season.

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