Calgary Flames vs NJ Devils, 7 PM MT, Scotibank Saddledome, Calgary AB
Calgary comes into tonight’s game having snapped a 2 game losing skid on Thursday night by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in OT. The Flames are running a rather tough gauntlet of the Eastern Conference’s best as they now look to take down the 9-3-0 NJ Devils on Sunday night. Calgary has been hanging on in most games due to Mike Smith’s out of this world goaltending. Calgary hasn’t had a keeper that can shoulder the load like Smith has since Miikka Kiprusoff walked away and Smith seems more than up for the task. In his last 4 starts Smith has only surrendered 7 goals and gotten the win in 3 out of 4. While he has more than held up his end of the bargain the guys in front of him have not. In those 4 starts the Flames offence has only produced 8 goals. That needs to change and NJ’s solid goaltending might not be the best time to try to ramp up the “O.”
Corey Schneider and Keith Kinkaid have been a more than solid tandem….record wise. Each goaltender is above .500, but the Devils have given up 37 goals on the season. Schneider and Kinkaid rank 24th & 32nd in the league respectively in Save%, so there is some room for Calgary to try to get the goal scoring up. NJ comes in having only lost twice in their last 8, the last a 6-3 thumping at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers.
NJ hasn’t fared well against the Flames over the years and it’s been VERY miserable at the Saddledome. The folks from the Turnpike are 8-33-8 all time when visiting Calgary and the Flames are 6-2-0 in their last 8 meetings.
What’s Happening With The Opposition?
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 2 Pittsburgh Penguins 1 (OT)
Calgary’s struggling offence continued to struggle despite a 2-1 OT win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Penguins on Thursday night. Mike Smith, as usual, kept the Flames in this contest stopping 30 of the 31 shots he faced. Mark Giordano played OT hero snipping the game winner in the extra frame. Here’s our recap and the highlights from NHL.com
NJ Devils 3 Edmonton Oilers 6
Game 2 of a 3 game road trip through the Pacific Division didn’t treat the Devils too kindly as they fell to the bottom dwelling Oilers 6-3. Connor McDavid had a 3 point night for Edmonton and Corey Schneider got beat up pretty bad, giving up 5 goals on 41 shots. All About The Jersey has the recap and NHL.com provides the highlights.
Players To Watch
Matthew Tkachuk (F). Matthew Tkachuk has been starting pick up the pace at the offensive end of the rink lately. He has 4 points in his last 5 games, including the game winning helper on Mark Giordano’s OT GWG on Thursday night. He COMPLETELY undressed Sidney Crosby and set up the game winner. Tkachuk has also cut down on the penalties. He does lead the team in PIM, but he’s been “stuck” on 14 for a while. In his only two meeting with the Devils Chucky came up empty last season.
Taylor Hall (F). Remember when Taylor Hall wasn’t good enough to be in Edmonton? Yeah. How’d that work out? Hall is RED HOT with 7 points in his last 5 games. He leads the Devils in points with 16 (4G 12A), including a 3 point effort against the Coyotes last week. Oh and he likes playing against the Flames. In his last 7 games against Calgary he has 10 points.
by Mark Parkinson