Through six games, the Calgary Flames (2-3-1, 5 points) have been very… Calgary Flames. They played three largely strong games and captured five points. Then they played three less strong games and captured zero points. Tonight they rematch against one of the NHL’s hottest teams, the Montreal Canadiens (5-0-2, 12 points), and are hoping to find the consistency that they’ve lacked over the past week.
The puck drops just after 5 p.m. MT and you can catch the action on CBC and City TV or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

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
Jacob Markstrom returns to the net, backed up by David Rittich. Dillon Dube remains day-to-day and could be an option tonight, which would likely bump Joakim Nordstrom to the sidelines. Buddy Robinson is the extra forward on the roster. The taxi squad is Louis Domingue, Connor Mackey, Oliver Kylington, Zac Rinaldo, Derek Ryan and Michael Stone, though Ryan is expected to be activated for the game as he has for every game so far.
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The key to victory for the road team tonight? Score first and don’t chase the game. Montreal took advantage of two first period goals on Thursday, then just clogged up the middle of the ice. If the Flames want to dictate the way the game is played, as the Habs did last game, they’ll have to have a better start.
It’s regular season game #900 for Mark Giordano! He becomes the first defenseman to hit that mark with the Flames, and just the second Flame to ever hit it following Hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla.

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
Don’t expect many, if any, changes for Montreal tonight. Jake Allen starts for the Habs, backed up by Carey Price. Montreal’s extras are Victor Mete and Joel Armia (who’s hurt), 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.
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If you’re the Habs, you probably just want to do what you did on Thursday: score first, score often, and manage the game well. Aside from staying out of the box, it’s hard to say what the bleu, blanc et rouge could’ve done better last game – aside from a bit of a slump in the last three minutes.

The numbers

Calgary
Montreal
Wins
2
5
Points (%)
5 (.417)
12 (.857)
Adjusted Corsi For
53.0%
57.8%
Expected Goals For
54.7%
54.6%
Power Play
32.1%
30.8%
Penalty Kill
76.2%
78.1%

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 2-3-1 record, five points, and a .500 points percentage. They need 60 more points to punch their ticket to the post-season with 50 games remaining, which would translate to a .600 points percentage over the remaining games.

Unfit to play report

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

When last we met

The Flames lost to Montreal 4-2 on Thursday night. Including tonight, they’ll play eight more times in 2020-21.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest: