The Calgary Flames are back on home ice as they take on the woeful Detroit Red Wings in a contest that gives the Flames ample opportunity to gain some much needed ground on their opponents in the Pacific Division. The Flames are coming off of an overtime loss against the Buffalo Sabres in an odd night that saw the overtime loss give them ground on the two teams chasing them. Still, the Flames need to take advantage of inferior opponents to hold off the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights.
The Flames are on the first game of a back-to-back and will turn to Mike Smith in this one and David Rittich tomorrow against the Edmonton Oilers. Smith has played a wee bit better as of late, but still carries a -1.69 percent delta save percentage in five-on-five play which is the 14th worst mark of the 72 goalies that have played at least 200 minutes. The Red Wings are hardly a stellar team and hopefully Smith doesn’t need to be a world beater to win this one anyway.
James Neal will return to the lineup tonight for Austin Czarnik. Travis Hamonic is a game time decision and may take Dalton Prout out of the lineup. Hamonic has been dealing with a scary incident that saw his eight month old daughter rushed to the emergency room. Hockey should be far secondary to family and the Flames should give him all the time he needs.
Game time is at 7:00 P.M. M.S.T.