Calgary Flames Game Day 78: The Flames clash with Chicago (the hockey team, not the musical) (7pm MT, SN360/960)

Photo credit:David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
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Winners of four in a row for the first time all season, the Calgary Flames (36-26-15, 87 points) are hoping to keep the good times rolling. And they’ll try to do that against the NHL’s last-place team, the Chicago Blackhawks (24-46-6, 54 points), a team the Flames have yet to defeat during the 2022-23 season.
The broadcast begins at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Mangiapane – Lindholm – Toffoli
Huberdeau – Backlund – Coleman
Ritchie – Kadri – Dube
Lucic – Lewis – Duehr
Weegar – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Zadorov – Stecher
We’re projecting Jacob Markstrom to start for the Flames for the 18th time in the past 19 games, despite being pulled after one period against Anaheim. He’s backed up by Dan Vladar. The projected extras are Michael Stone, Dennis Gilbert, Jakob Pelletier, Adam Ruzicka and Matt Coronato. After missing six consecutive games with an injury, Chris Tanev is a game-time decision, and the defensive pairings get shuffled around a bit to, arguably, their optimal three pairs.
While they haven’t been perfect by any means, the Flames have gotten favourable results over the last while. They’re 6-2-2 over their last 10 games and they’ve won five of six since getting walloped by Los Angeles by an 8-2 score a couple weeks ago. They’ve found a level of tactical desperation that was lacking earlier on, and they’ve executed very well in crunch time of games.
The Flames have been good and deserve some praise. They’ll need to continue to be good basically until they run out of regular season games if they want to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Blackhawks

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Reichel – Athanasiou – Entwhistle
T.Johnson – Dickinson – Raddysh
Katchouk – Khaira – Anderson
Wagner – Toews – R.Johnson
C.Jones – S.Jones
Vlasic – Murphy
Mitchell – Tinordi
We’re projecting Petr Mrazek to start in net, backed up by Alex Stalock. The projected extra skaters are Nikita Zaitsev, Cole Guttman, Anders Bjork, Wyatt Kaiser and Andreas Englund. Jonathan Toews, who played his first game since late January on Saturday night, is on the trip and is expected to play. (You never know, it could be his last visit to Calgary.)
Chicago is in 32nd place in a 32 team league and has lost their last eight games, all in regulation. They have a team that features some interesting players – hey, Jujhar Khaira is back! – but is low on flash and consistency right now. Chicago could be good in a year or two as their young players mature. But they’re not particularly good right now. And while they can out-work opponents, they usually can’t out-talent them. Not yet, at least.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington.
The Blackhawks are without Jarred Tinordi, Philipp Kurashev and Colin Blackwell.

The playoff race

The Flames enter Sunday’s games chasing a few teams:
  • They’re three points ahead of Nashville (for ninth place), but Nashville has two games in hand.
  • They’re two points behind Winnipeg (for the final wild-card spot).
  • They’re five points behind Seattle (for the first wild-card spot), but Seattle has a game in hand.
To reach 95 points (and have a reasonable chance at a playoff spot), the Flames need 8 points over the final 5 games – that’s an .800 pace in their remaining games.
The Flames’ elimination number is 4.5. Any combination of Flames losses or Winnipeg wins totalling 6.5 eliminates Calgary from playoff contention. The Flames’ magic number is 6.5. Any combination of Flames wins or Winnipeg losses totalling 6.5 eliminates the Jets from playoff contention.

The numbers

87 (.565)Points (%)54 (.355)

Head to head

This is the season series finale between these clubs. The Flames have an overtime loss and a regulation loss to Chicago on their record so far this season.

Social life

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