FGD 6: A visit to old friends (5pm MT, SN West)

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
2 years ago
There’s something special about seeing two particular teams clash. The Calgary Flames (2-2-1, 5 points) kick off their first big road trip of the 2020-21 season against the Montreal Canadiens (4-0-2, 10 points), the NHL’s oldest, most storied club and a team that the Flames have played twice in the Stanley Cup Final (and once in an outdoor game). It’s the first of two games in Montreal and the first of five games away from the Saddledome. Having slid back to the .500 mark, the Flames could really use some momentum on this trip.
The puck drops just after 5 p.m. MT and you can catch the action on Sportsnet West or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. If nothing else, tune in for two clubs wearing excellent jerseys.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Tkachuk – Lindholm – Leivo
Gaudreau – Monahan – Simon
Mangiapane – Backlund – Bennett
Lucic – Ryan – Nordstrom
Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Valimaki – Nesterov
David Rittich starts for the first time this season, backed up by Jacob Markstrom. Dillon Dube skated this morning and according to head coach Geoff Ward, he’s an option tonight – he’s still considered day-to-day, though. The taxi squad is Louis Domingue, Connor Mackey, Oliver Kylington, Zac Rinaldo, Derek Ryan and Buddy Robinson, though Ryan is expected to be activated for the game as he has for every game so far.
It’s career game 899 for Mark Giordano! And the Flames are coming off a pair of regulation losses. As a five game trek gets going, the Flames are going to be hoping to get off to a better start and be more consistent overall against a really talented Habs squad. If the Flames are rusty defensively, they could be behind the proverbial eight-ball very quickly.

The Canadiens

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Tatar – Danault – Gallagher
Drouin – Suzuki – Anderson
Toffoli – Kotkaniemi – Perry
Lehkonen – Evans – Byron
Chiarot – Weber
Edmundson – Petry
Kulak – Romanov
Carey Price starts for the Habs, backed up by Jake Allen. Montreal’s extras are Victor Mete and Joel Armia, while their taxi squad is Charlie Lindgren, Cale Fleury, Ryan Poehling, Perry, and Michael Frolik. Perry is being activated from the squad for this game, as has become routine for Montreal.
Montreal is undefeated in regulation this season and have been idle since their 5-2 win over Vancouver on Saturday. Many, including this writer, were skeptical about the Habs this season given all their new faces. But they’ve managed to get together very quickly. They’re a fast, deep, talented team that has two good goalies and some really fun players to watch.
Keep your eye on Alexander Romanov, playing with former Flame Brett Kulak on the third pairing and quickly earning accolades for his superb play.

The numbers

Points (%)5 (.500)10 (.833)
Adjusted Corsi For53.2%59.2%
Expected Goals For46.7%66.7%
Power Play33.3%26.1%
Penalty Kill83.3%78.6%

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 a 2-2-1 record, five points, and a .500 points percentage. They need 60 more points to punch their ticket to the post-season with 51 games remaining, which would translate to a .588 points percentage over the remaining games.

Unfit to play report

The Flames are without Dillon Dube. He’s considered day-to-day.
The Canadiens are healthy.

When last we met

The Flames played Montreal twice in 2019-20 and lost both games. Their most recent outing was a 2-0 loss to the Habs in Bell Centre back on Jan. 13, 2020.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest:

Check out these posts...