After struggling a bit in their first major road trek of the 2019-20 season, the Calgary Flames (2-3-1, 5 points) are back at home tonight. They begin a short two game homestand this evening when they welcome the Philadelphia Flyers (2-0-1, 5 points) to the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flyers have played the least of all the NHL’s clubs to date, but are also undefeated in regulation.
The action kicks off at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 360 (with Rick Ball and Kelly Hrudey) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan (with Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias).
Yesterday’s lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Lucic – Ryan – Mangiapane
Bennett – Jankowski – Czarnik
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson
David Rittich returns to the net after giving up six goals in his last outing against Vegas, backed up by Cam Talbot. The projected scratches are Tobias Rieder and Michael Stone.
The Flames are coming off a pretty uneven three game road trip where they captured just two of a possible six points. They were okay in Dallas, awful in Vegas and pretty good in San Jose. Their challenges include: flat starts, rough defensive zone play, taking penalties at inopportune times, an anemic power play, and generally not playing as a cohesive five man unit. They have yet to really play a strong 60 minute game, so the hope is they can pull things together (as they’re undoubtedly a talented group).
Fun fact: tonight is Michael Frolik’s 800th NHL game. He’s played almost exactly twice as many career games as Johnny Gaudreau, who celebrated 400 career games in San Jose. Frolik has 370 career points, while Gaudreau has 394. Numbers are fun.
Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Giroux – Hayes – van Riemsdyk
Lindblom – Couturier – Konecny
Pitlick – Laughton – Voracek
Twarynski – Raffl – Stewart
Provorov – Braun
Sanheim – Niskanen
Hagg – Gostisbehere
(Forever A Flame) Brian Elliott starts for the Flyers, backed up by Carter Hart (who will presumably start in Edmonton). The projected extras are Connor Bunnaman and Samuel Morin. Chris Stewart has signed with the Flyers after being with the club on a PTO and will play tonight, bumping Bunnaman to the sidelines.
It’s a homecoming for Calgary product Carsen Twarynski, who grew up and played minor hockey in town and even played two and a half seasons for the Hitmen. He made the Flyers out of training camp and scored his first career goal in Vancouver last week. He and fellow Hitmen alum Travis Sanheim are key depth pieces for a young and emerging Flyers crew. (That defensive group could be low-key great if the youngsters keep improving.)
The Flyers are still top-heavy, but their young depth will make this game a challenge for the Flames if they don’t have their work boots on.
The Flames are without D Juuso Valimaki (ACL surgery).
The Flyers are missing F Nolan Patrick (upper body) and F Morgan Frost (lower body).
When Last We Met
The Flames beat the Flyers twice last season, both in overtime. Their last meeting was a 3-2 overtime win in Philadelphia in January.
Know Thy Enemy
Here are some key Twitter peeps to follow for tonight’s opener: