Calgary Flames @ Tampa Bay Lightning, 2 PM MT, Amalie Arena
TV: SNW - Radio: Sportsnet 960
Calgary Flames 33-25-7 (73 pts) - Tampa Bay Lightning 40-19-5 (85)
The Flames trek across the United States makes a stop in sunny Florida this afternoon as Calgary pays a visit to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Flames have gone 2-0-1 so far on this five game swing and if it weren’t for a BAD defensive breakdown with 0.1 seconds on the clock Thursday night, their record would be a perfect 3-0-0 on the trip. Despite getting a point in Nashville, the Flames can’t be satisfied with their finish against the Predators. Calgary battled back to get the lead with under four minutes to go and then just fell apart in the waning seconds of regulation and then just flat out blew it in overtime.
One positive to come out of that loss was the continued dominance of one Mikael Backlund. The Flames centre now has points in 10 of his last 11, including back to back three point efforts against the Bruins and Predators. His play has really lifted the Flames and his line has been the best on the team lately. Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane have also combined for 23 points over that time frame, giving the 3M Line 41 points in their last 11 games. That’s just plain bananas.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been a team of extremes this season. They are currently mired in a four game losing streak that has seen them lose to Vegas, Arizona, Toronto and Chicago. Prior to that Tampa was making a solid run at the Boston Bruins, having gone 23-2-1 over a 26 game stretch, including win streaks of 10 and 11 games. Clearly Tampa is still a beast in the East and this will not be an easy out for the Flames, despite the Lightning’s poor play lately. The Bolts are second overall in the NHL with 224 GF and their PP is operating at 22.7%, good for 6th in the league. To top that off, Andre Vasilevskiy is #1 in the NHL in wins by goalies with 32 and is rocking a solid .915 Save%.
This is a vastly different season for one of the two best teams in the NHL last year. Tampa finished as the NHL’s best regular season team last year and their 85 points are third best, sitting seven behind front running Boston in the Eastern Conference. The Flames were the second best team during the 2018-19 regular season and this season hasn’t mirrored that success at all. Calgary is currently clinging to their Wild Card lives in 7th place in the Western Conference with 73 points.
This is the first meeting of these two this season, with the second coming in Calgary on March 21st. It’s been tough sledding for the Flames in Tampa over the years and they’ve dropped three out of the last five games they’ve played there, including a 6-3 defeat last season.
Flames: Rittich (Expected) 24-15-6, 2.91 GAA, .908 SV%
Lightning: Vasilevskiy (Expected) 32-12-3, 2.61 GAA, .915 SV%
Flames - Goals: Lindholm (27), Points: Tkachuk (55), PIM: Tkachuk (72), Save%: Talbot (.914)
Lightning - Goals: Kucherov (31), Points: Kucherov (78), PIM: Maroon (66), Save%: Vasilevskiy (.915)
What’s Happening With The Opposition?
Tampa Bay Lightning Coverage: Raw Charge
Lightning Round: Analyzing the Bolts remaining schedule https://t.co/6JAc4ZrG6M— Raw Charge (@RawCharge) February 29, 2020
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 3 - Nashville Predators 4 (OT)
Tampa Bay Lightning 2 - Chicago Blackhawks 5
Players To Watch
Matthew Tkachuk (F): 7 points in last 5 games
Tampa Bay Lightning
Kevin Shattenkirk (D): 4 points in last 5 games