Calgary Flames vs Columbus Blue Jackets, 6:30 PM MT, Scotibank Saddledome, Calgary AB
TV: SN360, SNE, SNO, SNW - Radio: Sportsnet 960
Calgary Flames 34-26-7 (75 pts) - Columbus Blue Jackets 32-21-14 (78)
The Flames finally return home after an eight day, five game road trip that saw the Flames collect seven out of a possible 10 points. If you asked Flames fans at the start of the trip I think they’d tell you they would be thrilled with that outcome. In theory it should have been eight of out 10, but the gut punch they took in Nashville kind of took some air out of the balloon. Either way it was a successful road trip and the Flames got key contributions throughout the lineup to keep things moving.
Calgary really controls their own destiny at this point with the NHL regular season calendar furiously winding down. The Flames sit in 6th place in the Western Conference and only have 14 games left after tonight’s contest with the Blue Jackets. There is one catch however: 10 of the 14 are at home and we all know how bad the Flames have played at the Saddledome. The Flames are 14-12-4 at the Saddledome and their #1 keeper in David Rittich hasn’t collected a win on home ice since December 5th in a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. That’s a seven game home losing streak and that’s not good. It’s time for the Flames and Rittich to figure it out before it’s too late or they just let Cam Talbot start at home.
Columbus could be a good team for David Rittich to get back on track against. Columbus has been fairly decent on the road this season (12-9-1), but they have dropped five straight away from home and they’re really struggling overall. The Blue Jackets are 2-5-5 in their last 12, but somehow they are clinging to the final WC spot in the East.
You can certainly score on CBJ lately, as evidenced by them giving up four or more goals in five of those loses. Yet they’ve still managed to give up the 5th least amount of goals on the season with 175. Nothing like a little early season padding to make the stats look good as you begin to free fall. Where things have really taken a turn for the worse has been with putting the puck in the net. In their last 10 losses the Blue Jackets have only scored 20 goals, being shut out one time and scoring one goal three times.
Columbus has been a tough out for the Flames at home and it’s a problem that goes all the way back to 2012. Since 2011 when Calgary beat the Blue Jackets both times they came to Calgary, they have lost eight out of nine, finally snapping an eight game losing streak last season. The Flames won the only match up of these two so far this season back on November 2nd by the score of 3-0.
Flames: Rittich (Expected) 24-16-6, 2.94 GAA, .907 SV%
Blue Jackets: Korpisalo (Expected) 19-11-4, 2.58 GAA, .911 SV%
Flames - Goals: Lindholm (28), Points: Tkachuk (56), PIM: Tkachuk (74), Save%: Talbot (.917)
Blue Jackets - Goals: Bjorkstrand (21), Points: Dubois (47), PIM: Foligno (62), Save%: Merzlikins (.922)
What’s Happening With The Opposition?
Columbus Blue Jackets Coverage: The Cannon
We came up with an idea to balance out NHL schedules and re-seed the playoffs. Check it out and let us know what you think.— The Cannon (@cbjcannon) March 2, 2020
That and much, much more in this week’s Cannon Blasts https://t.co/udNUYt8opT
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 3 - Florida Panthers 0
Columbus Blue Jackets 5 - Vancouver Canucks 3
Players To Watch
Johnny Gaudreau (F): 4 points in last 5 games
Columbus Blue Jackets
Nick Foligno (F): 4 points in last 5 games