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Columbus Blue Jackets @ Calgary Flames Preview: A Weekend Matinee

Columbus is looking to sweep Western Canada. The Flames are in a tight Western Conference playoff race and facing a must-win situation. One will come out on top. We're all winners when we can get to bed/go out drinking at a decent time.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames are still very much in the playoff race heading into the final stretch of the season. The Columbus Blue Jackets, while not mathematically eliminated, are not. Tonight is the second and last meeting of the teams this season. Last time they met was October 17th, which also happened to be the one game that rookie sensation, Johnny Gaudreau, was healthy scratched. Matt Calvert scored the game winner early in the game, and Sergei Bobrovsky held his own to lead the Blue Jackets to a 3-2 win.

The Flames are right in the middle of a very tight Western Conference playoff race, making every game until the end of the season a must win. They did just that against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, pulling off a retro night 4-1 win that saw many milestones and career highs reached. The two most noted achievements came from the golden children Sean Monahan and Johnny Hockey. Monahan potted his 50th NHL goal, and Johnny scored his 20th of the season. His three points also saw him leapfrog Filip Forsberg for number one in the rookie scoring race. || Recap || Fancy Stats || Boxscore || Highlights:

The Blue Jackets are not as poor a team as the standings would suggest. In fact, they have won four of their last five games. They're finishing off their Western Canada trip tonight, hoping to make it a clean sweep. They pulled off a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers, and destroyed the Vancouver Canucks (thanks again) with six unanswered goals on Thursday. The standings could look drastically different had they not been so lucky as to pull off a new franchise record of 450 man-games lost due to injury. Ouch.

For more on the enemy, head over to The Cannon.

Game time: It's an early one - 2:00PM MT

Channel: SNW

All-time record: This one's kind of even, and there's a smaller sample size with every game played after Y2K. The Flames are 23-21-0-6 with a goal differential of -8.

Common threads: Now part of the current core for the Flames, Kris Russell was drafted in 2005 and began his career with the Blue Jackets.

Speaking of career starts, goalie Curtis McElhinney was drafted by the Flames in 2002. Also, Justin Falk used to play for the Calgary Hitmen.

Rene Bourque was once a 50+ point scorer with the Flames. The Blue Jackets are the third team he's played for this season and he was put on waivers once already.

Approaching milestones: Games played countdown: Dennis Wideman is three games from 700, Jiri Hudler is six from 600, Raphael Diaz needs six game to 200, and Lance Bouma is now 10 games away from 200.

Karri Ramo is only eight wins away from 50! TJ Brodie just needs two points to get 100. David Jones is still nine goals away from 100, whereas Wideman is 10 away from 100. Wideman's next goal will also set a new career high.

Hudler's next assist will also set a new career high. His sons are close to some impressive numbers after the last game too. Sean Monahan got his 50th goal and is now only two away from 30 this season. Johnny Gaudreau reached 20 goals last game and is four points from 60 on the season.

The only milestones we may see the Blue Jackets reaching today (and let's hope they don't)... Fedor Tyutin needs seven assists to 200, and David Clarkson is four points from 200.

Scoreboard watching: There are 13 games today, so there should be something for everyone! As for the ones we're looking out for:

Current records and leaders

Calgary Flames Columbus Blue Jackets
Record: 39-27-5: 83 points Record: 32-35-4: 68 points
Pacific Division: 3rd Metropolitan Division: 7th
Western Conference: 8th Eastern Conference: 13th
Goal Differential: +23 Goal Differential: -33
Time on ice
Defence: Mark Giordano (25:10 per game)
Forward: Sean Monahan (19:26 per game)
Defence: Jack Johnson (24:08 per game)
Forward: Ryan Johansen (19:46 per game)
Goals: Sean Monahan (28)
Assists: Mark Giordano & Jiri Hudler (37)
Points: Jiri Hudler (62)
Goals: Nick Foligno (25)
Assists: Nick Foligno (38)
Points: Nick Foligno (63)
Shots on goal: Sean Monahan (164)
Shooting percentage: Jiri Hudler (18.9%)
Shots on goal: Cam Atkinson (184)
Shooting percentage: Nick Foligno (16.0%)
Faceoff Leaders
Sean Monahan (50.2%, 1559 taken) Ryan Johansen (52.2%, 1442 taken)
Penalty minutes: Brandon Bollig (68)
Hits: Lance Bouma (238)
Blocked shots: Kris Russell (244)
Penalty minutes: David Clarkson (106)
Hits: David Savard (175)
Blocked shots: Jack Johnson (106)
ES Corsi/Fenwick (minimum 1/2 team's games played)
Corsi for%: Mark Giordano (48.4%, 61 GP)
Josh Jooris (46.8%, 52 GP) 
Fenwick for%: Josh Jooris (49.2%, 52 GP)
Mark Giordano (48.6%, 61 GP)
Corsi for%: Brandon Dubinsky (52.3%, 38 GP)
Scott Hartnell (50.9%, 66 GP)
Fenwick for%: Brandon Dubinsky (51.4%, 38 GP)
Scott Hartnell (50.9%, 66 GP)

Possible starting lineups

Calgary Flames
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma Mikael Backlund David Jones
Mason Raymond Markus Granlund Joe Colborne
Brandon Bollig Matt Stajan Michael Ferland
Left Defence Right Defence
Kris Russell Dennis Wideman
TJ Brodie Deryk Engelland
David Schlemko Raphael Diaz
Karri Ramo
Jonas Hiller

Columbus Blue Jackets
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Rene Bourque
Ryan Johansen
Cam Atkinson
Corey Tropp
Artem Anisimov
Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell
Boone Jenner
Marko Dano
Jeremy Morin
Mark Letestu
Jared Boll
Left Defence Right Defence
Jack Johnson
David Savard
Fedor Tyutin
Dalton Prout
Kevin Connauton
Cody Goloubef
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

If it aint broke don't fix it, I guess, as the Flames dress the same lineup from Thursday. Drew Shore and Josh Jooris are still day-to-day. Paul Byron has made strides in his recovery, taking part in a full practice yesterday, and may return to the lineup on Monday.

As for Columbus, they activated Boone Jenner and Jeremy Morin from IR, and sent Ryan Craig down on Friday. With Alexander Wennberg, Ryan Murray, Brandon Dubinsky, and David Clarkson day-to-day, and Matt Calvert and Jack Skille on IR, the injured list is looking hefty.