The suddenly second place Calgary Flames head to Illinois to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. The Anaheim Ducks gained first place earlier today after scoring five unanswered goals against the Washington Capitals en route to a six to five victory (congratulations to Ryan Miller who tied John Vanbiesbrouck for most wins by an American goalie), but the Flames can pass them with a victory of any kind here tonight. Chicago currently sits well outside of the playoff picture and is tied with the Los Angeles Kings for the league’s worst goal differential which makes this the second game in a row the flames will get to challenge the team with that distinction.
The Flames lineup is still sub-optimal as Michael Frolik is still out and Bill Peters continues to make questionable decisions RE: Ryan Lomberg. Andrew Mangiapane gets his first game as a Flame this season, but Austin Czarnik has once again been removed from the lineup despite his performance not really constituting it. Lomberg gets the go over him despite his performance not really constituting it.
Mike Smith gets a second start in a row tonight. It’s one thing if this is just a way to get Smith back into a rhythm by getting him the opportunity to play inferior opponents, but in no way has his performance warranted him getting the starting roll back from David Rittich who has outperformed him all season. Hopefully it’s the former and not the latter.
Game time is at 5:00 P.M. M.S.T.