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Game five preview: Flames at Blackhawks

Coming off a great game against the Predators, the Flames will try to carry that momentum forward, on to one of the league's best teams.

Reto Berra is no longer among us, but this is still a funny picture.
Reto Berra is no longer among us, but this is still a funny picture.
Derek Leung

Tonight the Flames make their first of two visits to Chicago for their first of three matchups against the Blackhawks. Still hanging around the central time zone, puck drop will be at 6 p.m. MT, and the game will be on the regular, default Sportsnet channel.

The Flames are officially halfway through their six-game road trip, with a 2-1-0 record against the Oilers, Blues, and Predators. They have three more games to go before they return home: tonight's, against the Blackhawks, before they round it out with contests against the Blue Jackets and Jets. The Hawks, meanwhile, haven't played since the 11th, when they defeated the Sabres in a 6-2 win.

So basically, the Flames are gonna need to play hard to keep up, because this is an excellent Chicago team.

Last season, though, the Flames actually won the season series 2-1, with two overtime victories allowing them to emerge victorious. The most recent of those was way back on Jan. 28 of this year. Mikael Backlund scored twice, while Lance Bouma and Matt Stajan added their own tallies before the Blackhawks tied up the game. TJ Brodie was the overtime hero on a great wraparound to seal the season series. | Box ScoreFull Recap | Watch some of our best young players score again:

Now, the Flames are coming off a thrilling 3-2 shootout victory over the Nashville Predators, with goals supplied by Mark Giordano and Brodie. Joe Colborne had the lone shootout goal, as Karri Ramo had an excellent night, stopping 19 of 21 shots - quite a number of which were excellent chances - and performing perfectly in the shootout.

That won't be the case tonight, as on the second of a back to back, Jonas Hiller gets the start. Oh man, it's so nice to not cringe in fear of your backup.

The Hawks, meanwhile, have played just two NHL games so far. They defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 in a shootout in their season opener, before clobbering the poor Buffalo Sabres 6-2 at home with a four goal effort in the third. Andrew Shaw, Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, and Daniel Carcillo (wait what) scored the goals, while Corey Crawford turned aside 21 of 23 shots (one of the ones that made it past him was a shorty!). | Box ScoreFull Recap

GameTime: 6 p.m. MT

Where2Watch: SN

All-Time Record: The Flames are 72-73-26-5 against the Blackhawks. Hey, not that far from .500! Neat! Outscored by 30 goals, though (519 to 549).

Current record

Calgary Flames: 2-2-0, four points; fifth in the Pacific Division, eighth in the Western Conference, 17th in the league

Chicago Blackhawks: 2-0-0, four points; third in the Central Division, sixth in the Western Conference, 11th in the league

Common thread

The Flames gave the cap-strapped Chicago Blackhawks a third round pick for an overpaid Brandon Bollig at the draft this past June. Bollig has now played four games for the Flames. It was a dumb trade then and it was a dumb trade now. Come on, you couldn't have tried to squeeze a little more out of a team desperate to shed cap? That was a gift. A dumb gift.


Just two other games on tap!

Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings, 6 p.m. MT
Edmonton Oilers at Phoenix Arizona Coyotes, 8:30 p.m. MT

Milestone watch

Jiri Hudler currently sits at 298 points. That's two away from 300. He's scored 84 of them with the Flames.

Possible starting lineups

All via Daily Faceoff:

Calgary Flames
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Jiri Hudler Sean Monahan Devin Setoguchi
Curtis Glencross Mikael Backlund Paul Byron
Mason Raymond Joe Colborne Johnny Gaudreau
Brandon Bollig Matt Stajan Lance Bouma
Left Defense Right Defense
Mark Giordano TJ Brodie
Kris Russell Rafa Diaz
Ladislav Smid Dennis Wideman
Jonas Hiller
Karri Ramo
David Jones Brian McGrattan Deryk Engelland

Chicago Blackhawks
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Patrick Sharp Jonathan Toews Marian Hossa
Brandon Saad Andrew Shaw Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell Brad Richards Ben Smith
Daniel Carcillo Marcus Kruger Jeremy Morin
Left Defense Right Defense
Duncan Keith Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson Trevor van Riemsdyk
David Rundblad Johnny Oduya
Corey Crawford
Antti Raanta
Kris Versteeg Michal Rozsival Kyle Cumiskey

Jones, Engelland, Versteeg, and Rozsival are all the injured parties. Should Bouma, who suffered a bad hit in last night's game, be unable to play (although it looks like he will), it'll probably be McGrattan drawing back in.

Flames leaders

Ice Time: Defencemen: Mark Giordano: 24:30; TJ Brodie: 24:02; Kris Russell: 21:31
Forwards: Curtis Glencross: 18:15; Mikael Backlund: 18:08; Sean Monahan: 16:58

Goals: Mason Raymond: 3; Jiri Hudler, TJ Brodie: 2

Assists: Mark Giordano, Joe Colborne: 4; Jiri Hudler, TJ Brodie, Sean Monahan: 2

Points: Mark Giordano: 5; Jiri Hudler, Joe Colborne, TJ Brodie: 4

Shots on Goal: Sean Monahan: 13; Mason Raymond: 12; TJ Brodie, Curtis Glencross: 9

Faceoffs: Joe Colborne: 54.6% (36 of 30); Matt Stajan: 53.7% (22 of 19); Mikael Backlund: 53.1% (52 of 46)

Hits: Curtis Glencross: 15; Brandon Bollig: 13; Lance Bouma: 9

Blocked Shots: Kris Russell: 16; Mark Giordano: 7; Deryk Engelland, Ladislav Smid: 6