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Preview: Calgary Flames Six Game Road Trip Starts In Tampa

A win tonight would give the Flames three in a row.



Calgary Flames @ Tampa Bay Lightning, 5 PM MT, Amalie Arena, Tampa FL

Calgary Flames 7-6-2 (16 pts) – Tampa Bay Lightning 9-6-1 (19 pts)

TV: SNW – Radio: Sportsnet 960

Odds: Calgary (-124) Tampa Bay (+102) O/U: 6.5

The Flames are certainly a streaky team over their last nine games and it hasn’t always been fun streaking. Calgary has won two in a row with victories over the Kings and Jets, but it was pretty ugly prior to those last two (not that they’ve been easy or pretty). Leading into this last run of success the Flames had dropped seven in a row and things were an absolute mess. The Calgary goaltending was bad. They were blowing multi goal leads. They were taking a ton of unnecessary penalties. The PP was awful. Basically, nothing was going right. Now, things aren’t completely fixed just because the Flames are winning, but the results are getting there. Though there is one area that needs some work and that’s between the pipes.

It’s been a rough go to start for Jacob Markstrom as he’s really struggled for most of his starts. He has won two in a row, which is good, but he needs to start to ramp up his play. Against the Winnipeg Jets he looked like Vezina nominee that was in goal for Calgary last season. But in his last start against the Kings he looked shaky. Calgary had a 6-3 lead and held on, in part to a fantastic save by Markstrom, but he was far from perfect. It seems like as he gains a little traction he ends up taking a few steps back and we’re back to square one. This six game road swing doesn’t start off easy with games against the Lightning and Panthers so Markstrom is going to have to be on his “A” game if he gets both starts.

As for the Lightning is semi-business as usual for them. The three time Stanley Cup champs sit in 4th place in the Atlantic Division with 19 points, but looking at the actual bigger picture shows that division placement isn’t terrible at all. The Lightning are only two points out of second place, which is currently occupied by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Where they will have a hard time catching up is with the Boston Bruins. That group is an absolute monster, leading the Atlantic with 28 points, making 4th place seem terrible, but not really. You can look at it this way: TB’s 19 points would have them one point out of first place in the Central.

Much like Calgary, keeping the puck out of their own net has been a problem for the Bolts. Tampa’s tandem of Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott haven’t been exactly a brick wall. Neither keeper has a Save% above .900 and both have GAA’s above 3.00. So what we’re saying here is this game could feature a few goals scored, hence the 6.5 O/U on this contest.

Compounding factors is the fact the Flames haven’t been crushing it when visiting the Lightning. Calgary is 3-7-0 in their last 10 visits, including having dropped three in a row. It’s extremely important for the Flames to start this long road trip off with a victory as the rest of the trek isn’t a cake walk. Falling into a hole to start isn’t going to do any good for this team.

It’s an early puck drop from Amalie Arena with a 5PM MT tilt on tap.

Head To Head
Calgary Flames Tampa Bay Lightning
7-6-2  Record  9-6-1 
16 pts  Points  19 pts  
5th Pacific  Division  4th Atlantic 
6-4-1  Home Record  5-2-1 
1-2-1  Away Record  4-4-0 
47  GF  54 
50  GA  52 
20.0 (21st)  PP  22.7 (11th) 
81.7 (8th)  PK  80.3 (12th) 
Kadri (7)  Goals Leader  Stamkos (8) 
Kadri (14)  Points Leader  Kucherov (23) 
Zadorov (19)  PIM  Maroon (38) 
Markstrom (.889)  Save%  Vasilevskiy (.898) 
20-27-1  Overall VS  27-20-1 
2-2-1  Last 5  3-2-0 

Starting Goalies

Calgary: Markstrom (E): 6-3-2, 3.06 GAA, .889 Sv%

Tampa Bay: Vasilevskiy (E): 5-5-1, 3.10 GAA, .898 Sv%

Injury Report

Calgary: Stone (IR/Undisclosed), Kylington (IR/Personal)

Tampa Bay: Bogosian (IR/Shoulder), Cernak (Day to Day/Undisclosed), Cirelli (IR-LT/Shoulder), Foote (Day to Day/UBI)

Game Social

@NHLFlames, #Flames, @TBLightning. #GoBolts, @matchsticksCGY, @RawCharge, #CGYvsTBL

View From The Other Bench

SBN Tampa Bay Lightning Coverage: Raw Charge

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 6 – LA Kings 5

Tampa Bay Lightning 5 – Dallas Stars 4 (OT)

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

Elias Lindholm (C): 7 points in last 5 games

Tampa Bay Lightning

Nikita Kucherov (F): 7 points in last 5 games

by Mark Parkinson