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Flames Playoff Game Day: A pivotal Game 4 in Dallas (7:30pm MT, CBC/SN)

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
6 months ago
The Calgary Flames (1-2; 1st place, Pacific Division) and Dallas Stars (2-1; 1st wildcard seed, Western Conference) have played three very close, tight-checking games. But the Stars have found ways to win two of those three games, while the Flames found ways to close. Can the Flames bounce back from back-to-back losses and even up the series heading back to Calgary? Or will the Stars put the Flames on the ropes?
The festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. MT. You can catch the game on CBC and Sportnet’s national feed in Canada (with Rick Ball and Greg Millen), TNT in the United States (with Brendan Burke and Darren Pang), and over the airwaves on Sportsnet 960 The Fan (with Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias)!

The Flames

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
@Johnny Gaudreau – @Elias Lindholm – @Matthew Tkachuk
@Andrew Mangiapane – @Mikael Backlund – @Tyler Toffoli
@Dillon Dube – @Calle Jarnkrok – @Blake Coleman
@Milan Lucic – @Trevor Lewis – rotating
@Noah Hanifin – @Rasmus Andersson
@Oliver Kylington – @Chris Tanev
@Nikita Zadorov – @Erik Gudbranson
@Michael Stone
@Jacob Markstrom [1-2, 1.36 GAA, .942 SV%] starts in net, backed up by @Daniel Vladar. The scratches are expected to be goaltender @Adam Werner, blueliner @Connor Mackey, and forwards @Brett Ritchie, @Ryan Carpenter and @Adam Ruzicka.
Update: Stone in, Ritchie out, and Flames dress 11 forwards and 7 defenders. Forward lines revert to status quo.
There’s one significant change for the Flames: goal-scoring maven Andrew Mangiapane has swapped places with surly forechecker Brett Ritchie. The move somewhat makes sense, as Ritchie is good at puck retrieval while Mangiapane adds some finish to the fourth line. But it also lowers the skill level on a Backlund line that has already had trouble burying chances. If the idea is to boost the fourth line and give the Flames more offensive and pace balance, it does make some sense. But one has to wonder how long that adjustment lasts.
(But it’s also entirely possible that this is gamesmanship by Darryl Sutter, putting different lines out just to screw with Dallas’ game preparation.)
It’s Game 4! Expect to see a desperate Flames group. Can they marry desperation with the precision and attention to detail that their playing system demands (and has been lacking lately)?

The Stars

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
@Jason Robertson – @Roope Hintz – @Joe Pavelski
@Michael Raffl – @Jamie Benn – @Denis Gurianov
@Luke Glendening – @Radek Faksa – @Vladislav Namestnikov
@Joel Kiviranta – @Tyler Seguin – @Alexander Radulov
@Ryan Suter – @Miro Heiskanen
@Esa Lindell – @John Klingberg
@Joel Hanley – @Jani Hakanpaa
@Jake Oettinger [2-1, 1.01 GAA, .969 SV%] starts for the Stars, backed up by @Scott Wedgewood. The scratches are expected to be goalie @Adam Scheel, defencemen @Andrej Sekera and @Thomas Harley, and forwards @Jacob Peterson and @Marian Studenic. Studenic swaps out for Radulov, but otherwise the Stars remain the same as in Game 3.
The Stars have been good and lucky in the past two games. They’ve also managed to cash in on special teams and avoid giving up too many high-octane chances on their penalty kill. If the Stars want to remain successful, they just need to keep this game away from five-on-five. If it skews towards even strength settings, especially full strength settings, the momentum probably skews towards Calgary.

The numbers

CalgaryDallas
Wins12
Adjusted Corsi For56.9%43.1%
Expected Goals For52.4%47.6%
Power Play8.3%9.1%
Penalty Kill90.9%91.7%

Unfit to play

The Flames are without Sean Monahan.
The Stars are without Braden Holtby.

When last we met

The Flames won two out of three meetings in the regular season – their lone loss was in overtime – and Dallas has won two out of three meetings (so far) in the playoffs.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest:

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