Tonight, the eyes of the hockey-playing world will be cast upon our ramshackle town as the Scotiabank Saddledome hosts a clash of Canadian hockey titans. That’s right, this is the one night of the year that the Calgary Flames (17-12-4, 38 points) host the Toronto Maple Leafs (15-13-4, 34 points) for the one evening of the year where the C of Red becomes a distinct shade of blue.

The puck drops just after 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

For a view from the other side, check out The Leafs Nation!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Lindholm – Mangiapane
Monahan – Backlund – Dube
Lucic – Ryan – Gaudreau
Rieder – Jankowski – Frolik

Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Hamonic
Brodie – Stone

David Rittich starts, backed up by Cam Talbot. The expected scratches are Oliver Kylington, Zac Rinaldo and Matthew Phillips. Matthew Tkachuk returns after missing Tuesday’s game with a minor injury. It would be reasonable to expect Phillips to be returned to the minors sometime today.

The Flames are rolling along since Geoff Ward became their head coach, replacing that other guy. Since Ward hopped behind the bench the Flames have won six consecutive games. While they haven’t exactly booted the door down and imposed their will on the opposition any of those games, they’ve gone from a shaky, tentative defensive squad into one that was able to hold off Nathan MacKinnon’s wrath in Denver on Monday night. In short: they’re a group that’s positionally strong and bends, but doesn’t break, when the opposition presses.

A win in tonight’s game could put the Flames in a very peculiar place given their awful start to the season: tied for first place in the Pacific Division.

The Maple Leafs

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Kapanen – Matthews – Nylander
Hyman – Tavares – Marner
Mikheyev – Kerfoot – Engvall
Aberg – Spezza – Petan

Rielly – Barrie
Muzzin – Holl
Dermott – Ceci

Freddie Andersen starts for the Leafs, backed up by Michael Hutchinson. Extras are Frederik Gauthier, Martin Marincin and Dmytro Timashov.

Like the Flames, the Leafs booted out a coach earlier this fall and brought up an up-and-comer – in their case, AHL uber-coach Sheldon Keefe. The results have been good, but not great, thus far as the Leafs have a 6-3-0 record under Keefe. But the joy seems to be back in the hockey-playing hearts of the boys in blue. Given their level of talent, that could be dangerous for any team that’s across from them.

The Numbers

Flames Leafs
Wins 17 15
Points 38 34
Adjusted Corsi 50.5% 53.2%
Power Play 18.4% 20.4%
Penalty Kill 83.6% 77.0%

Injury Report

The Flames are without F Sam Bennett (upper body), D Juuso Valimaki (ACL surgery) and F Austin Czarnik (lower body). Czarnik is in Stockton on a conditioning stint.

The Leafs are missing F Nathan Horton (back), F David Clarkson (back), F Trevor Moore (shoulder) and F Andreas Johnsson (leg).

When Last We Met

The is the first meeting between the Flames and Leafs this season. Last season, they split their two meetings with the road team winning each game. The last game they played was a 6-2 Leafs win in Calgary back in March. The Flames close out the season series in the Center of the Universe in mid January.

Know Thy Enemy

A small army of people cover the Leafs on a daily basis. Among them are: