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Preview: Calgary Flames vs Toronto Maple Leafs 1/26/21 (5/56): This Will Be A Slobberknocker

Expect the Maple Leafs to look for some kind of “retribution” tonight. Sigh.



Calgary Flames vs Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB

TV: SN1, SNO – Radio: Sportsnet 960

Calgary Flames (2-1-1, 5 pts) – Toronto Maple Leafs (5-2-0, 10 pts)

NHL Standings

Get ready, this one is going to be a powder keg and it will explode. The Maple Leafs got to know Matthew Tkachuk in Sunday’s 3-2 win over the Flames and it’s safe to say they aren’t impressed. Right or wrong, Tkachuk will surely be a target Tuesday night after he landed on Toronto goalie Jack Campbell late in the third period this weekend. Campbell was already labouring with a leg injury and Tkachuk ended up in the crease during a scrum for a loose puck and ended up being pushed and landed (with both knees) on Campbell. Campbell would finish the game, there would be a little pushing and shoving at the end of the contest and that was it. No suspension for Tkachuk. No fine. Nothing. As a matter of fact Campbell afterwards didn’t even seem fazed by it nor even upset with Tkachuk. The Leaf’s fanbase, well, that’s another story. They took to Twitter and cried a river of tears that flooded the internet calling for retribution, injury and one person even suggesting things far beyond that for the Flames top friend maker. Will anything happen? Yes. I’m guessing early on Tkachuk will have to answer for his perceived “dirty” play, which is something he’s dealt with and done in the past. How far this goes beyond this hypothetical fight is beyond me, but the Toronto Maple Leafs and Flames games just got WAY more interesting than they were originally going to be. With these teams facing each other nine times there is no way Toronto doesn’t do anything to Matthew Tkachuk in this game because if they don’t, it’s another place where Tkachuk lives rent free (he probably already does).

With that out of the way, Calgary has to do two things Tuesday night: slow down Mitch Marner and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP HAVING PUCKS DELFECT OFF YOUR OWN PLAYERS AND INTO YOUR OWN NET. Sorry. The last five goals to find the back of the net have gone in after hitting a Flames player, changing direction and beating a flabbergasted Jacob Markstrom. Literally none of those goals have been his fault and Calgary must get past this weird phase they are in and give their more than capable keeper a chance. That seems like something that should be an easy fix. The other, not so much.

Mitch Marner has enjoyed his time playing against the Flames and his performance on Sunday was on par with his past efforts when facing Calgary. Marner had two assists on the day, which gave him his 9th and 10th points of the season, which have him tied with Connor McDavid and Anze Kopitar for tops in the league. He also has 10 points in nine career games against the Flames, so slowing/stopping him has to be a priority for Calgary.

Emotions could be the key to this contest as Toronto is the team that clearly feels wronged and it wouldn’t surprise me if they came out with a chip on their shoulder and looking for a fight. Calgary needs to let the Leafs make the first move and play out of control, while playing their style game. If the Flames can do that, they should be able to come away with a victory. It’s not like Calgary played terribly in Sunday’s loss, they just didn’t have luck on their side. Bad bounces (deflections) sunk them and if you take those out of the picture, the Flames were the better team.

Now can we please have everyone stop crying about Matthew Tkachuk? It’s getting old.

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Markstrom (E): 2-1-1, 2.26 GAA, .928 SV%

Maple Leafs: Andersen (E): 3-2-0, 2.81 GAA, .898 SV%

Team Leaders

Flames: Goals- Lindholm (3), Points- Monahan (6), PIM- Lucic (6), Save%- Markstrom (.928)

Maple Leafs: Goals- Marner (4), Points- Marner (10), PIM: Simmonds (17). Save%- Andersen (.898)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Toronto Maple Leafs Coverage: Pension Plan Puppets

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 2 – Toronto Maple Leafs 3

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

Sean Monahan (C): Has a point in all four Flames games this season

Toronto Maple Leafs

Mitch Marner (C): Six points in last four games

by Mark Parkinson