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The Calgary Flames (19-23-3, 41 points) are trying to remain in playoff contention as the clock runs down on their remaining schedule. They have a big opportunity to get in the thick of things tonight when they play the first of three games in a row against the Montreal Canadiens (20-15-9, 49 points). Can the Flames close the gap on Montreal? And after a positive COVID-19 test on the Flames roster, will this game even take place? (We’re assuming yes until told otherwise.)

The puck drops just after 7 p.m. MT and you can catch the game on Sportsnet West or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
Mangiapane – Monahan – Dube
Lucic – Backlund – Nordstrom
Robinson – Ryan – Ritchie

Giordano – Tanev
Hanifin – Andersson
Valimaki – Stone

The Flames didn’t skate this morning and a player had a positive COVID-19 test and won’t be available tonight.

Jacob Markstrom starts, backed up by Louis Domingue. The projected extras are Buddy Robinson and Nikita Nesterov. The taxi squad is Artyom Zagidulin, Oliver Kylington, Zac Rinaldo and Dominik Simon.

The Flames have played pretty well lately. They haven’t been a super-scary team to play against, but they’ve played well enough to win in basically their last seven or so games, but they’ve just found ways to lose. Those ways? Rough special teams, badly-timed turnovers, and just general rough puck luck.

And lately, while the team has played well overall, their star players haven’t been consistent difference-makers.

The Canadiens

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tatar – Danault – Anderson
Toffoli – Suzuki – Armia
Lehkonen – Kotkaniemi – Byron
Drouin – Staal – Perry

Chiarot – Weber
Edmundson – Petry
Roman – Merrill

Jake Allen starts for Montreal, backed up by Cayden Primeau. Their extras are Carey Price (injured), Erik Gustafsson and Brett Kulak. Their taxi squad is Charlie Lindgren, Xavier Oullett, Jake Evans, Cole Caufield and Michael Frolik.

The Habs have been just fine as a hockey club lately, winning about half of their recent games. They’re in a position where they just need to muddle along around .500 and they’ll easily make the playoffs, barring the Flames going on a once-in-a-decade run of wins.

The numbers

Calgary Montreal
Wins 19 20
Points (%) 41 (.456) 49 (.557)
Adjusted Corsi For 52.1% 55.3%
Expected Goals For 52.5% 53.8%
Power Play 19.4% 19.0%
Penalty Kill 80.7% 77.8%

Playoff hopes and dreams

The Flames’ tragic number is 7.5. Any combination of 7.5 Calgary losses and Montreal wins eliminates the Flames from playoff contention. Their magic number is 16.5. Any combination of 16.5 Flames wins and Montreal losses clinch the Flames a playoff spot.

Unfit to play report

The Flames are healthy, aside from a COVID-19 positive test from today.

The Canadiens are without Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher.

When last we met

The Flames have won four of their first six games against Montreal. Including tonight, they face Montreal three more times before the end of the season.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest:


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