Tonight marks the last game of a five game homestand that has seen the Flames go 1-3-0. While it got off to a good start, following Christmas the Flames have run into scoring woes. They have scored just one goal in the past three games.
Hopefully, by turning the calendar to a new year, the Flames themselves will turn the corner and start putting up some wins again - or at least pot more goals.
One thing that's going to help is the return of Dennis Wideman. Wideman has been activated off the injury reserve since breaking his hand in the November 27 game against Chicago. The return of a top four defenceman can't be understated, especially for a team so thin on defence. Chris Breen has been sent back to Abbotsford as a result, as the tall defenceman went through waivers unclaimed (he's only played 43:10 through five games, so that's not surprising).
The flu bug has been making its way around the Flames again as well, leaving Lance Bouma unlikely for tonight. Assuming he's unable to go, it's likely TJ Galiardi takes his spot. This means both Brian McGrattan and Kevin Westgarth will play again - are you excited for some truculence?!
As for the Flames' opponent, the Lightning most recently defeated Vancouver 4-2 on New Year's Day, and are riding a four game road win streak. Steven Stamkos is still injured, and will not play; however, he was participating in practices on Saddledome ice (albeit in a no contact jersey), which is great news if you're Canadian.
Valterri Filppula is one of the opponents to watch for tonight. The former Red Wing, now Bolt has five goals and 12 points in his last eight games, so he's coming in hot. The Lightning have also been thriving on the powerplay as of late, connecting with the man advantage in five of the last six games, so the Flames will probably want to stay out of the box tonight.
Here are the projected lines:
Cammalleri - Monahan - Jones
Stempniak - Backlund - Hudler
Byron - Stajan - McGrattan
Westgarth - Colborne - Galiardi
Giordano - Brodie
Smid - Wideman
Butler - O'Brien
Palat - Johnson - St. Louis
Killorn - Filppula - Purcell
Brown - Thompson - Kucherov
Malone - Panik
Hedman - Sustr
Carle - Gudas
Salo - Brewer