Game Day: Flames Look To Continue Winning Ways In Chicago
The Calgary Flames play the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday with the Hawks missing superstar Patrick Kane, a subject of NHL trade rumours as a pending UFA.
The Calgary Flames (19-14-7) hit the Windy City to take on the Chicago Blackhawks (9-25-4) on Sunday (5 p.m. MT, Sportsnet West). They hope to start a winning streak after claiming a big 4-1 victory at home over the New York Islanders on Friday.
But they're still looking to iron out some kinks. Despite the lopsided victory on the scoresheet, they had just 21 shots on the Isles. That was a season low. And they needed their goaltender, Jacob Markstrom, to make some huge saves to preserve their leads. That included a pair of breakaway opportunities for the Islanders.
"It was huge because I think at that point, especially the first and second breakaway, I don't think we were having a very good period at the time," said Calgary Flames winger Milan Lucic. "He kept it a two-goal lead going into the third.
"It's good to see him finding confidence in his game as well, and we need him to be good every night to give us a chance to win."
Markstrom stopped 24 of 25 shots to improve to 13-10-4 this season. He's turned his numbers around and is close to cracking the .900 save percentage after a tough start to the 2022-23 campaign. His last seven starts are more in line with his Vezina nod last season — a .913 save percentage and 2.14 goals-against average. That is also a reflection of the team's checking and possession in that span, with the Mikael Backlund line the best in expected goals for in that span.
Flames all-star Nazem Kadri scored a big third-period goal to put a comeback out of reach.
The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are hurting. And not just because superstar Patrick Kane was out with an injury for the first time since 2015.
They snapped a five-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. But they've still lost 13 of their last 15 games. Goaltender Alex Stalock made 22 saves for the shutout victory.
The Flames called up Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr on Saturday, placing Brett Ritchie on injured reserve. It's unclear how they might use one or both of the prospects, however.
Calgary Flames projected lineup
Dillon Dube – Elias Lindholm – Tyler Toffoli
Milan Lucic – Nazem Kadri – Jonathan Huberdeau
Andrew Mangiapane – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
Adam Ruzicka – Radim Zohorna – Trevor Lewis
Noah Hanifin – Rasmus Andersson
MacKenzie Weegar – Chris Tanev
Nikita Zadorov – Michael Stone
Chicago Blackhawks projected lines
Reichel – Domi – Kurashev
T. Johnson – Toews – Raddysh
Seney – Dickinson – Athanasiou
Blackwell – Lafferty – R. Johnson
McCabe – S. Jones
J. Johnson – Murphy
C. Jones – Mitchell