The Calgary Flames (10-10-3) are facing the Washington Capitals (10-11-3) for the second time in eight days.
It didn't go well the first time around.
The Caps beat the Flames 3-0 in Washington with a goal in every period. The dagger was a powerplay goal in the third period from sniper Alex Ovechkin, who continues to chase and break Wayne Gretzky goal records. Darcy Kuemper had the shutout.
Since then, it hasn't been much better for a Flames team that isn't getting enough offence and has seen backup goaltender Dan Vladar outperform $6-million man Jacob Markstrom – who has said he "sucks at hockey" after the last loss and will get the night off against the Caps on Saturday night.
They're coming off a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Sean Monahan's return to Calgary. They outshot the Habs but couldn't beat Jake Allen without getting more traffic in front of him. They'll have to hope another 40-shot night will be enough to beat the Capitals. It was their third loss in four outings.
The Capitals, meanwhile, blew a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken. And it happened fast. The Flames can relate, having also blown a lead to lose to the upstart Kraken earlier this season.
In terms of lineup changes, the Caps could get defenceman Dmitry Orlov back. The Flames are benching Brett Ritchie in favour of Kevin Rooney but otherwise seem to be staying pat with the lines and pairings.
Vladar starts for the fourth time in five games.
Calgary Flames Projected Lineup
Jonathan Huberdeau – Elias Lindholm – Tyler Toffoli
Dillon Dube – Nazem Kadri – Andrew Mangiapane
Adam Ruzicka – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
Milan Lucic – Trevor Lewis – Brett Ritchie
Noah Hanifin – Rasmus Andersson
MacKenzie Weegar – Chris Tanev
Nikita Zadorov – Michael Stone
Washington Capitals Projected Lineup
Alex Ovechkin – Dylan Strome – Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano – Evgeny Kuznetsov – T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson – Lars Eller – Anthony Mantha
Aliaksei Protas – Nic Dowd – Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson – John Carlson
Martin Fehervary – Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin – Trevor van Riemsdyk
Washington Capitals at Calgary Flames: Players To Watch
Dan Vladar is getting the most extended look of his young career and it will be interesting to note whether he shows any signs of fatigue. He's got a 2.70 goals-against average and .913 save percentage and has earned some more playing time with Markstrom struggling (.889 save percentage, 2.97 GAA).
For Washington, is it ever anyone but Ovechkin? Saturday marks his 1,300th regular-season game and he is seven goals away from 800. Flames head coach Darryl Sutter joked "not tonight" but No. 8 has five goals in his last seven games and eight points in his last five.