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Friends, Tuesday night’s game between the Calgary Flames (9-9-3, 21 points) and the Florida Panthers (10-8-4, 24 points) at the Scotiabank Saddledome is going a pretty fun event. First, the Flames are wearing their black third jersey (Blasty!) for the first time this season. Second, 2016 first-round draft choice Matthew Tkachuk returns to Calgary for the first time as a member of the Panthers. Third, these two teams had a really great hockey game a couple weeks ago and seem primed for another one.
The broadcast begins at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West, Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Huberdeau – Lindholm – Toffoli
Dube – Kadri – Mangiapane
Ruzicka – Backlund – Coleman
Lucic – Lewis – Ritchie
Hanifin – Andersson
Weegar – Tanev
Zadorov – Stone
Dan Vladar starts, backed up by Jacob Markstrom. The projected extras are Connor Mackey and Kevin Rooney.
On one hand, the Flames have won four games in their past 15 – posting a record of 4-8-3 in that span. The Flames haven’t been walloped or crushed in any of their outings. They merely have found ways to lose, usually small aspects of their game that have gone askew at the precise wrong time.
Head coach Darryl Sutter thinks they’re trending in the right direction. If you look at the broad strokes of their game, they’ve generally looked pretty good. But they need to turn “generally” into “consistently,” and then add in some occasional brilliance. Consistently good play keeps you in games. Occasional brilliance wins those games for you.
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Keep an eye on the new-look third line, with Adam Ruzicka joining Mikael Backlund and Blake Coleman. Jonathan Huberdeau’s return to the top line is quite exciting, but Ruzicka playing with the two best two-way players on the club could be big for his development.

The Panthers

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Cousins – Bennett – Tkachuk
Verhaeghe – Lundell – Reinhart
Heponiemi – Luostarinen – White
Lomberg – Staal – Hornqvist
Forsling – Ekblad
Staal – Montour
Mahura – Gudas
It’s the second half of a back to back. Aside from Sergei Bobrovsky likely starting after Spencer Knight played in Edmonton, don’t expect any changes: the Panthers have no extra players with them, and Sasha Barkov isn’t on the trip due to an illness. The Panthers lost in overtime in Edmonton on Monday night, so we’ll see if the elevation, travel and exertion change how they run their bench.
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The big story is the return to Calgary of Matthew Tkachuk after his departure via a big late-night sign-and-trade to the Cats. Tkachuk should receive a heartfelt video package from the Flames at the first TV timeout, as well as a decent response from the crowd… assuming he hasn’t done anything in particular to draw their ire during the first 10 minutes of the game. (Knowing Tkachuk, we’ll put the odds at 50/50 of that happening.)

Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington.
The Panthers are without Anthony Duclair and Sasha Barkov.

The numbers

Flames
Panthers
9
Wins
10
21 (.500)
Points (%)
23 (.548)
52.6
xGF%
55.8
19.7
PP%
19.8
79.0
PK%
76.3

Head to head

This is the second and final meeting between these teams this season. The Flames beat Florida in Sunrise during the last road trip via a shootout. (It was an excellent hockey game.)

Social life

Here are your recommended follows from Panthers Twitter:
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