Flames Game Day
Game Day: Milestone Night For Flames’ Toffoli
Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks is the 700th regular-season NHL contest for Calgary Flames winger Tyler Toffoli, who may be getting better with age.
Milestones are funny. Every arbitrary 100 games in the NHL gets marked by a soundbite or story. When the Calgary Flames (23-14-9) host the Chicago Blackhawks (14-28-4) on Thursday at the Saddledome, winger Tyler Toffoli will hit 700.
Remarkably, he seems to get better with age. Toffoli is on pace for a career year, with the potential to crack the 30-goal mark for the second time. He's already at 40 points on the season, and would obliterate his previous best of 58 if that trend continues. He's been one of the hottest Calgary Flames players of late with seven goals and 19 points in his last 17 games.
Arbitrary as the 700-mark may be, Toffoli will enjoy it.
"It's pretty cool," Toffoli told reporters at the Saddledome on Thursday. "It's one of those things at the start of the year that's a realistic target and goal. And for it to happen, I'm really excited.
"It's been a lot of fun playing in the league, especially being here with these guys."
These guys are coming off back-to-back wins — beating the Columbus Blue Jackets after a victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Only one more game remains before the enjoy a lengthy break with their bye week and NHL All-Star break.
They could use it with defenceman Chris Tanev out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. And although prospect Jakob Pelletier may get sent back to the AHL during the break, he's one to keep an eye on in these next two games.
The Blackhawks are the frontrunners in the Connor Bedard lottery race, taking a 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. A team that just lost its coach because of how terribly they'd been playing.
As of puck drop, the Blackhawks were the worst team in the NHL so far this season. Petr Mrazek was the lone bright spot for the Hawks, making 43 saves.
Jacob Markstrom will start for the Calgary Flames.
Projected Calgary Flames projected lineup
Dillon Dube – Elias Lindholm – Tyler Toffoli
Milan Lucic – Nazem Kadri – Jonathan Huberdeau
Andrew Mangiapane – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
Jakob Pelletier – Trevor Lewis – Walker Duehr
Noah Hanifin – Rasmus Andersson
Nikita Zadorov – MacKenzie Weegar
Connor Mackey – Michael Stone
Chicago Blackhawks projected lineup