FGD 31: Back to Toronto (5pm MT, SN West)

Photo credit:Candice Ward/USA Today Sports
Ryan Pike
2 years ago
Just two days after a thumping from the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames (14-13-3, 31 points) head back to Toronto to play the Maple Leafs (19-9-2, 40 points) for a pair of games with big playoff implications for the Flames.
The puck drops just after 5 p.m. MT and you can catch the action on Sportsnet West or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
For a view from the other side, visit the fine folks over at Leafs Nation!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Tkachuk – Lindholm – Dube
Gaudreau – Monahan – Ritchie
Lucic – Backlund – Mangiapane
Bennett – Ryan – Leivo
Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Valimaki – Nesterov
Jacob Markstrom starts for the Flames, backed up by David Rittich. The taxi squad is Artyom Zagidulin, Oliver Kylington, Alex Petrovic, Zac Rinaldo Buddy Robinson and Derek Ryan – the expectation is, per the usual, Ryan will be activated and Dominik Simon will be shuffled to the taxi squad for cap reasons.
The Flames have played three really good games under Darryl Sutter and one where they weren’t all that good – particularly in a disastrous third period. They have a chance to show what they really are with a pair of games against the high-powered Leafs who sit atop the division.

The Maple Leafs

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Thornton – Matthews – Marner
Galchenyuk – Tavares – Nylander
Mikheyev – Kerfoot – Hyman
Simmonds – Engvall – Spezza
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Dermott – Bogosian
Frederik Andersen starts in net, backed up by Jack Campbell. Wayne Simmonds returns from injury and Alex Galchenyuk makes his Leafs debut after some time with the Marlies, so expect some roster shuffling for the Leafs to get under the cap ceiling. (If we’re guessing: Travis Boyd, Michael Hutchinson and/or Timothy Liljegren to taxi squad and/or AHL.) Their taxi squad is currently Galchenyuk, Alexander Barabanov, Nick Robertson, Nic Petan and Martin Marincin, but that’ll definitely change before puck drop.
The Leafs are, well, good! They’re tied with Edmonton for first in the North Division in points and despite having no cap space and a running list of injuries all season, they haven’t really fallen off. This group will be judged by how they perform in the playoffs, but it really looks like they’re a shoo-in to get there.

The numbers

Points (%)31 (.517)40 (.667)
Adjusted Corsi For51.3%50.8%
Expected Goals For52.6%57.8%
Power Play20.6%29.9%
Penalty Kill78.6%75.6%

The drive to 65

If you peruse most standings projections, it becomes apparent that 65 points probably gets you into the playoffs. That’s a 32-23-1 record, or thereabouts, or a .580 points percentage.
The Flames have an 14-13-3 record, 31 points, and an .517 points percentage. They need 34 more points to punch their ticket to the post-season with 26 games remaining, which would translate to a .654 points percentage over the remaining games.

Unfit to play report

The Flames are without Joakim Nordstrom.
With Wayne Simmonds returning tonight, the Leafs are now healthy.

When last we met

The Flames have captured three of a possible eight points from their games with Toronto so far, going 1-2-1.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest:

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