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Flames Game Day 44: Hey, Buds (7pm MT, SN West)

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Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
One night after defeating a divisional rival, the Calgary Flames (24-13-6, 54 points) are back in action. And they face a big test, hosting a rested Toronto Maple Leafs (30-10-3, 63 points) team that’s among the most dangerous offensive clubs in hockey. Can the Flames continue their strong play, and button up some iffy defensive work from late in their game with Vegas, or will their hot streak be snapped by the Leafs?
This game gets going just after 7 p.m. MT. You can catch the action on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
For a view from the other side, check out The Leafs Nation!

The Flames

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
Coleman – Backlund – Mangiapane
Dube – Monahan – Ritchie
Lucic – Ruzicka – Lewis
Hanifin – Andersson
Kylington – Tanev
Zadorov – Gudbranson
It’s the second half of a back-to-back, so we’re not expecting a morning skate or a ton of lineup information to be available before warm-up. We’re guessing that @Jacob Markstrom starts for the Flames, backed up by @Daniel Vladar – considering that Vladar hasn’t started and won a full game in awhile, and that after Saturday’s game the Flames have a couple days off. Yesterday’s extras for Calgary are @Michael Stone, @Brad Richardson and @Tyler Pitlick (who’s injured). Based on history, I wouldn’t expect many (if any) changes to the skaters.
Situations like this are what’s known as a “scheduled loss,” given that most back-to-backs involve travel. For the first time since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, the Flames are playing different teams on back-to-back nights but doing so at home without travel being involved. The Flames are also coming off of a lengthy break, so maybe we don’t see the usual second-half malaise we often see in this situation.
Keep an eye on @Mikael Backlund, who was awesome against Vegas, and @Johnny Gaudreau, who was uncharacteristically quiet offensively against Vegas with just a single goal. (That’s quiet by his standards.)

The Maple Leafs

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Bunting – Matthews – Marner
Kerfoot – Tavares – Nylander
Mikheyev – Kampf – Kase
Engvall – Spezza
Rielly – Brodie
Sandin – Holl
Dermott – Liljegren
Muzzin
@Jack Campbell is expected to start, backed up by @Petr Mrazek. @Wayne Simmonds remains back in Toronto after his wife gave birth to their second child (congrats to him and his family), so the Leafs will go with 11 forwards and 7 defenders against the Flames with @Jake Muzzin slotting back in. After an injury scare last game @Auston Matthews stays in.
If you’re a Flames fan, you’re probably tired of hearing about the Maple Leafs. We get it. But the Maple Leafs have been worthy of the attention. They’re a well-structured team with good offensive players, savvy veterans, good prospects, and pretty good goaltending. They’re rightfully near the top of the NHL standings.
Keep an eye out for their power play tonight. It’s the best in the league by nearly two full percentage points. The key to victory for the Flames may simply be staying the heck out of the penalty box. Much like against the Edmonton Oilers, the road to defeat runs through the sin bin.

The numbers

CalgaryToronto
Wins2430
Points (%)54 (.628)63 (.733)
Adjusted Corsi For57.3%53.7%
Expected Goals For55.7%54.5%
Power Play21.6%30.3%
Penalty Kill84.6%84.5%

Unfit to play

The Flames are without Tyler Pitlick.
The Maple Leafs are without Jake Muzzin.

When last we met

These teams met in Toronto back in November and it was Grand Theft Vladar. Playing the night after a loss to Montreal, Vladar made 35 saves and kept the Flames in the game throughout a barrage of chances from the Leafs. The Flames lost 2-1 in overtime.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest:

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