FGD 44: A big time rematch with the Habs (4pm MT, SN West)

Photo credit:Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports
Ryan Pike
2 years ago
The Calgary Flames (19-21-3, 41 points) have won three games in a row, upgrading their playoff hopes from “fanciful” to “a possibility.” They can get a little closer to making these dreams a reality when they face the Montreal Canadiens (18-13-9, 45 points) again at Bell Centre in scenic Montreal. The Flames were quite good on Wednesday in a 4-1 victory, and another game like that could put them just two points behind the Habs – granted, Montreal would still have three games in hand.
The puck drops just after 4 p.m. MT and you can catch the game on Sportsnet West or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
Mangiapane – Monahan – Dube
Lucic – Backlund – Nordstrom
Leivo – Ryan – Ritchie
Giordano – Tanev
Hanifin – Andersson
Valimaki – Stone
Jacob Markstrom starts, backed up by Louis Domingue. The projected extras are Buddy Robinson and Nikita Nesterov. The taxi squad is Artyom Zagidulin, Oliver Kylington, Alex Petrovic, Adam Ruzicka, Zac Rinaldo and Dominik Simon. We don’t expect any changes from the team’s lineup from Wednesday.
The Flames have had these lines and defensive pairs for three games. They’ve also played a pretty consistent 200-foot game over that span. Have they been perfect? Heck no. Have they avoided the wild swings in their game that characterized them under Geoff Ward? Heck yes. If the Flames can maintain their attention to detail, they could continue their winning ways.

The Canadiens

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Tatar – Danault – Byron
Toffoli – Suzuki – Armia
Drouin – Kotkaniemi – Anderson
Lehkonen – Staal – Perry
Chiarot – Weber
Edmundson – Petry
Kulak – Romanov
Jake Allen starts for Montreal, backed up by Cayden Primeau. Their extras are Xavier Ouellet, Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merrill. Their taxi squad is Michael McNiven, Jake Evans, Cole Caufield and Michael Frolik.
Montreal is sputtering at a key time in their season. They’ve dropped four of their past five games and the Flames have played them very well this season. Some teams just match up well, and much like Ottawa has run Calgary’s show this season, the Flames have found ways to confound and frustrate the Habs. If this happens a few more times this season, the Canadiens may start to get a bit nervous.

The numbers

Points (%)41 (.477)45 (.563)
Adjusted Corsi For52.0%55.5%
Expected Goals For52.0%54.2%
Power Play20.3%20.2%
Penalty Kill80.9%76.9%

Playoff hopes and dreams

The Flames’ tragic number is 11.5. Any combination of 11.5 Calgary losses and Montreal wins eliminates the Flames from playoff contention. Their magic number is 18.5. Any combination of 18.5 Flames wins and Montreal losses clinch the Flames a playoff spot.

Unfit to play report

The Flames are healthy.
The Canadiens are without Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher.

When last we met

The Flames have won four of their first five games against Montreal. Including tonight, they face Montreal four more times before the end of the season.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest:

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