The Calgary Flames (37-16-7, 81 points) continue their trek towards the trade deadline on Friday night, as they host the Buffalo Sabres (20-33-8, 48 points). The Flames are playing in the first half of a back-to-back, while the Sabres are in the second half of their own after losing to Edmonton on Thursday night. Can the Flames cash in on a scheduled win? Or will the Sabres trip them up?
The puck drops just after 7 p.m. MT. Catch all the action on Sportsnet West or Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

The Flames

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
@Johnny Gaudreau – @Elias Lindholm – @Matthew Tkachuk
@Blake Coleman – @Mikael Backlund – @Trevor Lewis
@Andrew Mangiapane – @Calle Jarnkrok – @Tyler Toffoli
@Milan Lucic – @Sean Monahan – @Dillon Dube
@Noah Hanifin – @Rasmus Andersson
@Oliver Kylington – @Chris Tanev
@Nikita Zadorov – @Erik Gudbranson
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@Jacob Markstrom starts for the Flames, backed up by @Daniel Vladar (who presumably plays tomorrow against Vancouver). The extras for the locals are @Michael Stone, @Brett Ritchie and @Brad Richardson. Newcomer @Calle Jarnkrok debuts for the Flames, centering the third line and wearing #91 (and pushing Ritchie to the sidelines).
Since their return on Dec. 30 from the 19-day COVID Christmas break, the Flames have been very good. There’s no other way to frame it: this is a very good hockey club. In that span they’re fourth in the NHL in points percentage, second in time spent leading, the leader in least time trailing, and they’re very effective in all three zones. Oh, and they just got deeper with the addition of Jarnkrok. The Flames have high standards for how they play and they’ll want to be better than they were in a 6-3 win over New Jersey that probably shouldn’t have been that close.
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The Sabres

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
@Jeff Skinner – @Tage Thompson – @Alex Tuch
@Peyton Krebs – @Dylan Cozens – @Vinnie Hinostroza
@Rasmus Asplund – @Casey Mittelstadt – @Victor Olofsson
@Zemgus Girgensons – @Cody Eakin – @Kyle Okposo
@Rasmus Dahlin – @Henri Jokiharju
@Mattias Samuelsson – @Mark Pysyk
@Jacob Bryson – @Colin Miller
Given that @Craig Anderson started in Edmonton, we’re expecting to see @Dustin Tokarski this evening. Buffalo’s scratches last night were @Robert Hagg, @John Hayden and @Anders Bjork. We’ll see how many changes they make, or if anybody is held out ahead of the trade deadline.
The Sabres have had a tough season, as the team hasn’t really clicked and they haven’t really ever gotten into second gear. They have a bunch of young pieces and seem poised to get better as everybody matures, but this just seems like a lost season for them. Beating the Maple Leafs in the Heritage Classic last week may be the high mark of their season.
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The numbers

Calgary
Buffalo
Wins
37
20
Points (%)
81 (.675)
48 (.393)
Adjusted Corsi For
57.1%
46.2%
Expected Goals For
55.6%
44.5%
Power Play
23.4%
19.3%
Penalty Kill
85.4%
76.5%

Unfit to play

The Flames are healthy.
The Sabres are without Will Butcher, Drake Caggiula, Malcolm Subban and Casey Fitzgerald.

When last we met

The Flames shut out Buffalo 5-0 back in November. Gaudreau and Mangiapane combined for 13 shots on goal and four goals.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest:

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