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Preview: Calgary Flames vs Tampa Bay Lightning 12/20/18 (36/82): Two Of The NHL’s Best Clash Tonight

Both the Flames and Lightning are red hot coming into tonight’s contest at the Saddledome.



Calgary Flames vs Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:00 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB


Radio: Sportsnet 960

Calgary Flames 22-11-2 (46 pts) – Tampa Bay Lightning 26-7-2 (54 pts)

NHL Standings

If you want to know where the Flames stand, tonight is a great test. Calgary returns home to the NHL juggernaut that is the Tampa Bay Lightning after having their 3 game winning streak snapped in Dallas. The Flames are playing very well lately, having won 8 out of their last 10 and are tied for first place in the Western Conference with Nashville and Winnipeg. They’ve been able to win tight games, high scoring games, but Dallas exposed Calgary in their 2-0 victory Tuesday night. The Stars were physical and they slowed the game down, forcing the Flames to play a slow and plodding style that doesn’t suit the Flames very well.

Tampa is just crushing the competition. The Lightning own a league best 26-7-2 record and are way out ahead in the Eastern Conference. Tampa has won 12 out of their last 14 and they’ve been doing it with a high powered offence scoring four or more goals 12 times. They lead the league in GF with 141, their PP is operating at 29.7% (2nd in the NHL) and they are 6th in the league averaging 33.3 shots per game. And when it comes to that red hot power play, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point have 16 PPG between the two of them.

The Flames, unlike last season, have been enjoying their home rink in 2018-19. Calgary is 11-3-2 at the Saddledome, but Tampa’s road record neutralizes that advantage. The Lightning are an identical 11-3-2 when they hit the road. To make matters worse the Flames are 1-4-0 the last 5 times Tampa has visited Alberta including 7-4 and 6-3 losses. No matter the stats this should be a very entertaining game between two of the NHL’s heavyweights this season.

Team Leaders

Calgary Flames

Goals: Monahan (20), Points: Gaudreau (45), PIM: Bennett (51), Save%: Rittich (.925)

Tampa Bay Lightning

Goals: Point (21), Points: Kucherov (50), PIM: Paquette (34), Save%: Vasilevskiy (.930)

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Smith (E)- 11-7-1, 2.99 GAA, .888 Save%

Lightning: Vasilevskiy (E)- 11-3-2, 2.35 GAA, .930 Save%

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Tampa Bay Lightning Coverage: Raw Charge

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 0 – Dallas Stars 2

Tampa Bay Lightning 5 – Vancouver Canucks 2

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

Mark Giordano (D): 6G – 29A, 8 points in last 5 games

Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos (C): 17G – 19A, 10 points in last 5 games

by Mark Parkinson