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M&G GameTime Preview: Flames visit Chicago

The Flames try to halt their recent slide, up to four games now, against the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks.

Gaudreau trying his best to screen Corey Crawford.
Gaudreau trying his best to screen Corey Crawford.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 6PM, the Flames will invade the United Center on West Madison Street in Chicago, IL to face the Blackhawks. This will be the third of three games between the two clubs this season. Calgary took the first in overtime, 2-1 on October 15th, and Chicago won the second 4-3 on November 20th. Neither team thus far has taken a victory on home ice.

The Flames have lost four straight, and are playing in the final game of a four game road trip. So far, they've lost 4-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, 4-3 to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, and 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. They'll return to the Saddledome to face the New York Rangers on Tuesday night and the Dallas Stars next Friday.

The Blackhawks are just coming off a four-game roadtrip of their own, and had won eight straight overall before last night's 3-2 setback at the hands of the New York Islanders. This contest will be the first of a two game homestand. They'll welcome the Minnesota Wild to Chicago on Tuesday.

The last time Chicago played Calgary was on November 20th. The Blackhawks won 4-3 despite power play markers from Dennis Wideman (8) and Paul Byron (5), as well as an even-strength goal from Sean Monahan (8). Chicago lit the lamp courtesy of Adam Clendening (PP, 1), Daniel Carcillo (2), Brent Seabrook (5), and Patrick Kane (7). Corey Crawford made 24 saves for the win, Jonas Hiller countered with 18 saves, allowing all four goals. * Full Recap * Box Score

For the most part, we had a pretty good hockey game. We had a couple of turnovers and a couple mental breakdowns, that's how they got a couple goals, but at the same time we have to take a lot of positives out of that game too. They're probably one of the best teams in the League, and we had a game with them all night. The game could have gone either way. That was a good hockey game. Unfortunately, one team's got to lose. - Curtis Glencross

Second City Hockey has more on the Blackhawks.

Calgary's last game would see the Flames drop a 3-1 decision to the NHL-leading Pittsburgh Penguins. Blake Comeau (9) and Kris Letang (5) lit the lamp for the Pens in the first five minutes of play. Johnny Gaudreau (6) potted one half way through the first with assists from Markus Granlund and Jiri Hudler, and Rob Klinkhammer (4) scored the insurance goal for Pittsburgh with three minutes remaining in regulation. Hiller allowed all three goals on 22 shots for the loss, while Marc-Andre Fleury earned the victory by turning aside 26-of-27. * Box Score * Full Recap

I think in the third period, we needed to play more in their zone, get more guys in front of the net and go to the dirty areas. It looks like other teams are scoring those goals right in the paint and we're not getting enough of those. - Paul Byron

Check out SB Nation's dedicated Penguins blog, over at PensBurgh.

The Blackhawks lost, 3-2 last night while visiting the New York Islanders. Cal Clutterbuck (4), Kyle Okposo (7), and Lubormir Visnovsky (2) scored for New York, while Daniel Carcillo (4) and Patrick Kane (14) put up goals for Chicago. Jaroslav Halak made 23-of-25 saves for his win. Rookie Scott Darling made 38 saves and lost, bringing his record to 5-5-1 for the season. * Full Recap * Box Score

Read up on the surprisingly good New York Islanders over at Lighthouse Hockey.

GameTime: 6PM MT

Where2Watch: NHLN-US, CITY, CSN-CH

All-Time Record: Calgary has a .497 points percentage against Chicago since their inception in October 1972. At 64-65-31, they can get back to the watermark tonight with a victory.

Current Standings

Calgary Flames: 17-12-2, .581, 36 points, on pace for 95 points. Fifth in the Pacific Division, tied for ninth in the Western Conference, tied for 15th in the NHL. Last Five: W-L-L-L-L. Playoff Odds: 69.4%

Chicago Blackhawks: 20-9-1, .683, 41 points, on pace for 112 points. Third in the Central Division, fourth in the Western Conference, fifth in the NHL. Last Five: W-W-W-W-L. Playoff Odds: 99.2%

Birthdays

Defenseman Chris Dahlquist scored four goals and 18 assists for the Flames from 1992-94, appearing in 151 contests overall. He added three goals and a helper in seven playoff appearances. Today is his 52nd birthday. Longtime Edmonton goaltender Bill Ranford (15-21-2 all-time vs. Calgary) is 48.

Elsewhere

Los Angeles Kings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, 3PM, TVA, FS-W, SNO
New York Rangers vs. Edmonton Oilers, 7:30PM, MSG+, SNW

This Date in Flames History

The Atlanta/Calgary Flames are 9-9-2 on this date throughout history. The Flames have won their past two matchups on December 14th, including a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres last season.

1974 - Maple Leafs 4, Flames 2
1975 - Sabres 7, Flames 4
1978 - Rockies 5, Flames 3
1979 - Flames 3, North Stars 2
1983 - Flames 4, Nordiques 2
1985 - Canucks 4, Flames 3
1989 - Flames 8, Nordiques 2
1991 - Red Wings 4, Flames 3
1992 - Flames 3, Red Wings 0
1993 - Flames 8, Canucks 4
1995 - Flames 3, Blues 3
1996 - Flames 4, Avalanche 1
1998 - Rangers 5, Flames 2
1999 - Flames 1, Blues 1
2000 - Senators 4, Flames 2
2001 - Flames 4, Stars 3
2002 - Avalanche 3, Flames 1
2006 - Canucks 3, Flames 1
2007 - Flames 4, Hurricanes 3
2013 - Flames 2, Sabres 1

Milestones

Jiri Hudler needs two assists to reach 200 for his career.

With one goal, Mark Giordano will tie Steve Bozek in 47th with 64. He will move into a tie for 25th with Daymond Langkow if he notches his 165th assist. He'll tie Dion Phaneuf in 32nd all-time with one point, which will give him 228.

Curtis Glencross can tie Cory Stillman in 30th all-time with one point, number 235. He needs an assist on top of that to move into a tie for 36th with Stillman at 126.

Karri Ramo can take sole possession of ninth on the Flames all-time shutout list, breaking a tie with four other goaltenders with four each (Jamie McLennan, Rick Tabaracci, Rick Wamsley, Pat Riggin).

Common Thread

The Blackhawks employed current Flames enforcer Brandon Bollig for parts of the last three seasons. He totaled seven goals and seven assists with 201 penalty minutes in 125 games for Chicago.

Probable Starting Lineup

Calgary Flames

Line 1

Joe Colborne

Sean Monahan

Mason Raymond

Line 2

Johnny Gaudreau

Markus Granlund

Jiri Hudler

Line 3

Curtis Glencross

Josh Jooris

David Jones

Line 4

Brandon Bollig

Matt Stajan

Paul Byron

Defensive Pair 1

Mark Giordano

TJ Brodie

Defensive Pair 2

Kris Russell

Dennis Wideman

Defensive Pair 3

Raphael Diaz

Deryk Engelland

Starting Goalie

Karri Ramo

Reserve Goalie

Jonas Hiller

I don't see Lance Bouma in the lineup at all, and coach Hartley has been rotating goaltenders during their cold streak, trying to find the winning combination. Ramo is up next, but nothing official has been announced yet.

Line 1

Brandon Saad

Jonathan Toews

Marian Hossa

Line 2

Kris Versteeg

Brad Richards

Patrick Kane

Line 3

Bryan Bickell

Andrew Shaw

Patrick Sharp

Line 4

Dan Carcillo

Marcus Kruger

Ben Smith

Defensive Pair 1

Duncan Keith

Brent Seabrook

Defensive Pair 2

Niklas Hjalmarsson

Johnny Oduya

Defensive Pair 3

Klas Dahlbeck

Michal Rozsival

Starting Goalie

Antti Raanta

Reserve Goalie

Scott Darling

Incumbent Corey Crawford has missed the last week and a half with an injury to his left foot. Backup Darling started last night for Chicago, taking the loss, so Antti Raanta may get the start.

Flames Leaders

Games: Giordano, TJ Brodie, Monahan, Glencross, and Paul Byron have each appeared in all 31 Flames' games so far this year.

Goals: Sean Monahan, Jiri Hudler - 11, Dennis Wideman - 10

Assists: Mark Giordano - 22, Jiri Hudler - 17, TJ Brodie, John Gaudreau - 16

Points: Mark Giordano - 30, Jiri Hudler - 28, TJ Brodie, John Gaudreau - 22

Plus/Minus: TJ Brodie - plus-16, Mark Giordano - plus-15, Jiri Hudler, John Gaudreau - plus-8

Penalty Minutes: Brandon Bollig - 40, Deryk Engelland - 30, Curtis Glencross - 28

Shots-on-Goal: Sean Monahan - 81, Mark Giordano - 76, Dennis Wideman - 66

Faceoffs: Matt Stajan (76-for-147) - 51.7%, Sean Monahan (338-for-673) - 50.2%, Joe Colborne (68-for-137) - 49.6%

Hits: Lance Bouma - 93, Curtis Glencross - 60, Deryk Engelland - 49

Blocked Shots: Kris Russell - 89, Mark Giordano - 66, Dennis Wideman - 62

Offensive Point Shares: Mark Giordano - 3.2, Jiri Hudler - 2.8, Dennis Wideman - 2.2

Defensive Point Shares: TJ Brodie - 3.0, Mark Giordano - 2.9, Kris Russell - 1.4

Goalie Point Shares: Jonas Hiller - 2.9, Karri Ramo - 2.2

Total Point Shares: Mark Giordano - 6.1, TJ Brodie - 5.1, Jiri Hudler - 3.7

Join us for the Gamethread, which goes live at 5:30 this afternoon, and be sure to check back later for our pair of recaps.