After an unsuccessful venture into Blackhawks territory that featured a partial third-period comeback, the Flames return home to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight. The Jackets are only six points out of the playoff picture and have three games in hand on the Flames coming into tonight's game. A win tonight wouldn't do much for the BJs, as they would remain in 12th place in the West, but two points for the home side tonight would vault them into fourth place in the Conference.
The Flames have struggled against some of the NHL's better teams lately, with losses to the Bruins, Sharks, and Blackhawks in their past five games, and while the Jackets are an unlikely candidate to make the post-season given the cluster of teams hanging around eighth place, they're not completely out of the race.
Lines and Pairings:
With the announcement that Brendan Morrison is day-to-day after suffering a knee injury in Wednesday's game, Alex Tanguay will move up to centre the first line with Jarome Iginla and Rene Bourque, while the newly acquired Fredrik Modin will make his debut tonight on the fourth line alongside Mikael Backlund and Tom Kostopoulos. With Tanguay out of his natural position, it's not expected that the new lines will last long, and Brent Sutter might be tempted to break up the Glenross-Jokinen-Moss trio, as Moss has been the only one consistently producing lately. Bourque experience a brief re-awakening on the scoresheet against his old team, but one game does not a promotion to the first line make.
Kiprusoff will start in net again tonight after being pulled prior to start the third period against the 'Hawks, while Steve Mason, also replaced in his last start, will likely counter for the Jackets.
Enjoy the game everyone and send get well soon wishes to former Flame Kristian Huselius in the comments. Go Flames.