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Flames Return After Another Long Break To Face Sam Bennett & The Panthers

An old friend returns to Calgary for the first time since being traded.

Florida Panthers v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

Calgary Flames vs Florida Panthers, 7 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB

Calgary Flames 17-11-6 (40 pts) - Florida Panthers 26-7-5 (57 pts)

TV: SN1, SNW - Radio: Sportsnet 960

Odds: Calgary (-105) Florida (-115) O/U: 5.5

After another long break the Flames finally return to the ice to take on a team that pounded them 6-2 a mere two weeks ago. Sam Bennett (who didn’t play last time) and the Florida Panthers make their only regular season visit to the Saddledome and are currently bringing their four game winning streak in tow.

The Panthers have reached the top spot in the Atlantic Division and the league overall with their 57 points and Sergei Bobrovsky has been a big part of that jump. The Florida goaltender has started eight of the last nine games the Panthers have played and has a 7-0-1 record in that time frame. He also has allowed two or less goals in five of those eight games. The Panthers have also been putting the puck in the net during this little run of theirs, pumping in 49 goals in those eight wins, including six games with five or more tallies (two 9 goal efforts). And in their current four game winning streak they’ve lit the lamp 25 times. This is not going to be an easy or pretty task for the Flames tonight.

Adding to the pile of anticipation for tonight’s contest will be the return of Sam Bennett to Calgary. This is the first time the former Flames centre will be taking the ice against the team that drafted him with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Bennett has had a nice run in Florida since being dealt by the Flames and should eclipse his career high in points by the end of the 2021-22 season. Bennett currently has 18 goals and five assists, which puts him 13 points off his best season total from 2015-16 and he’s only three goals away from tying his career high of 18. He’s also collected eight points in his last four games, including a four point effort (3G 1A) against the Dallas Stars last Friday.

As for the Flames, things aren’t going so well as of late. You can certainly look at the Flames “on again, off again” schedule as part of the problem, but as a team they’ve been a mess. Their goaltending hasn’t been great lately, their defence as a whole (looking at you Nikita Zadorov) has been bad and someone other than Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk needs to step it up if the Flames are going to get out their current funk. Calgary is 2-7-1 in their last 10 and even though they have to make up a bunch of games, they’re falling in the standings. The Flames needs to look in the mirror and fix what is wrong or that pad they built at the start of the season with their hot play won’t mean anything.

Puck drop is at 7 PM MT from the Saddledome.

Head To Head
Calgary Flames Florida Panthers
17-11-6 Record 26-7-5
40 Points 57
5th Pacific Division 1st Atlantic
103 GF 157
87 GA 108
Mangiapane (18) Goals Leader Duclair (16)
Gaudreau (38) Points Leader Huberdeau (53)
Lucic (38) PIM Gudas (46)
Markstrom (.924) Save% Bobrovsky (.921)
21.2 (11th) PP 19.7 (16th)
84.2 (6th) PK 81.2 (13th)
1-4-0 Last 5 4-0-1
21-14-3 Overall VS 14-21-3

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Calgary: Markstrom (E)- 12-8-5, 2.23 GAA, .924 SV%

Florida: Bobrovsky (E)- 19-3-3, 2.47 GAA, .921 SV%

Injury Report

Calgary: Tyler Pitlick (Undisclosed/Day To Day)

Florida: Noel Acciari (Undisclosed/IR-LT), Markus Nutivaara (Undisclosed/IR), Mason Marchment (Non Injury Related/OUT)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Florida Panthers SBN Coverage: Litter Box Cats (@litterboxcats)

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 1 - Ottawa Senators 4

Florida Panthers 9 - Columbus Blue Jackets 2

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

Ottawa Senators v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

Matthew Tkachuk (F): 6 points in last 5 games

Florida Panthers

Columbus Blue Jackets v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Aaron Ekblad (D): 9 points in last 5 games

On The Struggle Bus

Calgary Flames

Mikael Backlund (C): 1 point in last 10 games

Florida Panthers

Joe Thornton (C): 3 points in last 9 games