Calgary Flames versus Chicago Blackhawks
The Flames will wrap up a four game homestand tonight as we inch closer to the NHL All-Star Break, as they welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to town.
We’ll see a few lineup changes tonight, and our projections start in the blue paint.
Per Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960:
Jacob Markstrom starting tonight vs. Chicago. #Flames— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) January 26, 2023
Markstrom returns to the crease after yielding two starts to Dan Vladar. His break was well deserved, as he’s struggled this year and particularly lately. Markstrom is winless in his last four outings, with two regulation losses, an OTL, and getting pulled the last time he faced Chicago. He carries an overall record of 13-12-5 with a 2.82 Goals Against Average alongside an .895 Save Percentage.
After the Saturday afternoon post-game hullabaloo of his NHL debut, Jakob Pelletier will stay in the lineup for his third straight game despite any uproar of dismissal from his head coach.
Pelletier was the Flames 26th overall selection at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He has 24 points in 31 games with the Wranglers, currently surpassing the near-PPG pace he had last year with the Stockton Heat. He clocks in at 5’9” and 160 pounds but his size isn’t limiting his usage, as he’ll now have more appearances than previous undersized callup Matthew Phillips, who only saw two NHL games of action.
The team announced on Tuesday that d-man Chris Tanev will be getting some injury recovery time ahead of the All-Star Break. He injured his non-surgically repaired shoulder and will be off tonight and tomorrow, and will also get an extra week of recovery from the break. As reported yesterday, Connor Mackey skated in his stead at practice and that will bump Nikita Zadorov up one pairing to play with Mackenzie Weegar, which will move Weegar back to his strong side. Mackey will slide in with Michael Stone on the third pairing.
- Brett Ritchie exited the New Year’s Eve game against Vancouver with what appeared to be a wrist injury. He saw a specialist for it on January 3rd and has been placed on retroactive Injured Reserve as of January 8th. The retroactive placement sees him technically eligible to return anytime now, it’s just dependent on the functionality and severity of the injury.
- Defender Oliver Kylington remains away on personal leave.
- Dennis Gilbert has been up and down like a roller coaster. The defender was sent back down to the Wranglers as of November 27th and recalled on December 18th, and spent a stint on IR before being recalled December 28th, then sent down again the next day.
- After being a highly published healthy scratch for three games this season, Milan Lucic will remain in the lineup and in the top six. Dennis Gilbert was recalled from the Wranglers this afternoon to shore up the blue line bodies. With Mackey coming in from the press box, Adam Ruzicka will be a healthy scratch and will do so for the third straight game. This leaves the current active roster at 23.
- On that note, Ruzicka has finally been scratched after an earlier hot streak. Over the prior twenty-six games before sitting he had just two goals and twelve points and had been held off the scoresheet in eleven straight contests.
- Jonathan Huberdeau will stay in the top six but remain on the second line since being swapped with Dillon Dube. Huberdeau is hopefully rounding into form after tacking on twenty-two points in his last twenty-eight games. His best performance so far was three assists against the Sharks on December 20th. He also scored the big GWG against the Kraken on December 28th, and recently chipped in two assists against Dallas on January 14th, as well as an empty-netter against Tampa.
Barring any major changes when lineups are submitted, they are projected as follows:
FORWARD 1: Dube-Lindholm-Toffoli
FORWARD 2: Lucic-Kadri-Huberdeau
FORWARD 3: Mangiapane-Backlund-Coleman
FORWARD 4: Pelletier-Lewis-Duehr
GOALTENDERS: Markstrom (starter), Vladar (backup)