After a decisive win over Edmonton on Saturday night and the departure of two long-time players before Monday’s trade deadline, the Calgary Flames (17-20-3, 37 points) are back in action when they face the North Division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs (28-11-3, 59 points). The Leafs added some good players at the deadline and are primed for a playoff run. The Flames? Well, they’re just hoping to sand off some rough edges as they play out the remainder of the season.
The action starts at 5:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and 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:
Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
Mangiapane – Monahan – Dube
Lucic – Backlund – Nordstrom
Leivo – Ryan – Ritchie
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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.
The Flames won on Saturday! It was their first win in their last five, and just their third in their last 11 (3-8-0). The Flames’ playoff hopes are merely mathematical at this point – quite akin to being told a beloved relative is merely “medically alive” – but with 15 games left the club is hoping to build good habits and provide a foundation for what’s hopefully a more successful season beginning in October.

The Maple Leafs

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Galchenyuk – Matthews – Marner
Mikheyev – Tavares – Hyman
Thornton – Kerfoot – Spezza
Robertson – Engvall – Simmonds
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Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Dermott – Bogosian
It sounds like David Rittich will make his Leafs debut, backed up by Jack Campbell or Michael Hutchinson. The Leafs also added Ben Hutton (from Anaheim) and Nick Foligno (from Columbus) to their main roster and Antti Suomela (from San Jose) to the taxi squad via trade (and the injured Riley Nash from Columbus), but they’re not available yet due to quarantine restrictions. The taxi squad is Veini Vehvilainen, Joseph Duzsak, Adam Brooks, Scott Sabourin, and Martin Marincin.
So, Toronto’s pretty good this season. They showed that in their pair of games with the Flames last week. Both games were pretty close and tight-checking for two periods, then the Leafs were able to use their speed and skill to take advantage of the Flames’ defensive zone gaps and turnovers. If the Flames are going to get two points out of this game, they’ll need to play smart, structured hockey.
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The numbers

Calgary
Toronto
Wins
17
28
Points (%)
37 (.451)
59 (.702)
Adjusted Corsi For
51.6%
51.6%
Expected Goals
51.6%
54.5%
Power Play
20.0%
22.9%
Penalty Kill
80.3%
77.5%

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 17-21-3 record, 37 points, and a .451 points percentage. They need 28 more points to punch their ticket to the post-season, the equivalent of an .933 points percentage over the remaining 15 games. At this point, 65 points is a fantasy.
The Flames’ tragic number is 11.5. Any combination of 11.5 Calgary losses and Montreal wins eliminates the Flames from playoff contention.

Unfit to play report

The Flames are healthy.
The Leafs are without Freddie Andersen and Riley Nash.

When last we met

The Flames have captured five of a possible 16 points from their games with Toronto so far, going 2-5-1. Their last meeting with the Leafs was a 5-3 loss a week ago.
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Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest: