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Happy Hockey Day in Canada, friends! It’s an all-Canadian triple-header, capping off with the second of four consecutive games between the Calgary Flames (7-5-1, 15 points) and the reeling Vancouver Canucks (6-11-0, 12 points). The Canucks out-played the Flames for two periods on Thursday, but somehow found a way to lose – their sixth setback in a row. Expect a desperate Canucks team in this one, as their playoff hopes are already dwindling.

The puck drops just after 8 p.m. MT and you can catch the action on CBC or Sportsnet’s national feed or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

For a view from the other side, visit the fine folks over at Canucks Army!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Lindholm – Dube
Gaudreau – Monahan – Bennett
Lucic – Backlund – Mangiapane
Nordstrom – Froese – Leivo

Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Mackey – Valimaki

Jacob Markstrom starts for the Flames, backed up by David Rittich. The active extras are Brett Ritchie and Dominik Simon. The taxi squad is Louis Domingue, Connor Mackey, Oliver Kylington, Glenn Gawdin, Zac Rinaldo and Buddy Robinson. Per reporting from Kevin Woodley in Vancouver, it sure sounds Nikita Nesterov sits and Mackey is activated from the taxi squad and makes his NHL debut tonight.

The Flames have won three in a row, despite playing six really good periods in that span. The difference-maker in their three less-good periods was $6 million goalie Markstrom, who’s quickly making a case for himself in the Hart and Vezina races with his stellar play (which has allowed the Flames to overcome a few slow starts this season).

That said, the Flames do need to have better first periods so they don’t need to rely on Markstrom’s super-heroics too often.

The Canucks

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Boeser – Pettersson – Miller
Pearson – Horvat – Hoglander
Roussel – Gaudette – Sutter
Eriksson – Beagle – Virtanen

Edler – Schmidt
Juolevi – Myers
Hughes – Benn

Tkatcher Demko starts for the Canucks, backed up by Braden Holtby. Their active extras are Jalen Chatfield and Zach MacEwen. Their taxi squad is Michael DiPietro, Guillaume Brisebois, Jack Rathbone, Brogan Rafferty and Marc Michaelis.

Things are bad in Vancouver. Almost pitchforks and torches bad. Because after all the hope and joy of last year’s playoff run, they’re second-last in the North Division, third-last in the entire NHL, and they’ve lost six straight. Another L or two could spell serious changes on the coast.

Expect the Canucks to be like a desperate, cornered animal in tonight’s contest – perhaps even more than they were on Thursday.

The numbers

Calgary Vancouver
Wins 7 6
Points (%) 15 (.577) 12 (.353)
Adjusted Corsi For 52.2% 46.3%
Expected Goals 55.0% 46.0%
Power Play 23.1% 16.1%
Penalty Kill 80.4% 81.4%

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 7-5-1 record, 15 points, and a .577 points percentage. They need 50 more points to punch their ticket to the post-season, the equivalent of a .581 points percentage over the remaining 43 games.

Unfit to play report

The Flames are without Derek Ryan.

The Canucks are without Justin Bailey, Tyler Motte, Travis Hamonic, Micheal Ferland and Jayce Hawryluk.

When last we met

The Flames have beaten Vancouver three times this season – by scores of 3-0, 5-2 and 3-1.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest:


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