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Flames-Kraken game preview: Clinched playoff spot within view

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Calgary Flames celebrate road win over Anaheim Ducks

It’s the second game of a home-and-home series for the Calgary Flames, winners of the first (4-1 on Saturday), against the Seattle Kraken.

Tonight at 7 p.m. (📺: Sportsnet, 👂: Sportsnet 960), the Flames will be trying for a fifth win in a row, and we’ll be watching for a few milestones, including:

For the Flames…

Steps closer to the spring dance

With 10 games left on their schedule, there is ample opportunity for the Flames to clinch an NHL playoff spot.

That can happen as early as Wednesday. The magic number for Calgary to firm an NHL post-season ticket is 2.5 — a combination of wins by the Flames and losses by the Los Angeles Kings.

The Flames host the Kraken tonight, of course. The Kings also play tonight in the first of back-to-back games for them, facing off with the Blackhawks in Chicago before travelling to Denver to play the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow night.

A Flames win and two Kings losses (one of them could even come in overtime) would equal a Calgary berth.

Chasing a century

Johnny Gaudreau was held off the scoresheet on Saturday in Seattle, but odds are very good the Flames’ top scorer will get a point tonight. One is all Gaudreau, who has 34 goals and 65 assists in 72 games played so far in 2021-22, needs to reach 100 points.

He would be the first Flame to hit the mark since 1993, when Theoren Fleury reached exactly 100 (34G-66A in 83GP).


Perfect Calgary Flames trip

April 4: Kings toppledApril 6: Ducks pluckedApril 7: Sharks skeweredApril 9: Kraken crushed


For the Kraken…

Future star debut

Matty Beniers, Seattle’s first-ever draft pick, might make his NHL debut tonight.

The 19-year-old centre, picked second overall last year by the expansion team, signed an entry-level deal with Seattle two days ago after finishing his college career with the University of Michigan.

The Hingham, Mass., native, who skated on a line at practice yesterday alongside Ryan Donato and Jordan Eberle, scored 43 points in 37 NCAA games played this season, helping lead the Wolverines to the Frozen Four before losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Denver University.

Beniers is one of a number of NCAA players who’ve signed NHL deals in recent days, including:


Sparks

  • Defenceman Oliver Kylington skated on a fifth Flames line at practice yesterday alongside Ryan Carpenter and Adam Ruzicka, but don’t expect to see him in tonight’s lineup either at forward or on the blue line.
  • The Flames will sweep the four-game regular-season series with the Kraken if they win tonight.
  • It was a year ago today when the Flames traded Sam Bennett and a sixth-round draft pick to the Florida Panthers for Emil Heineman and a second-round pick.

Projected lineups

Flames

Forward

Gaudreau • Lindholm • Tkachuk
Mangiapane • Backlund • Toffoli
Dube • Jarnkrok • Coleman
Lucic • Lewis • Ritchie

Defence

Hanifin • Andersson
Mackey • Tanev
Zadorov • Gudbranson

Goal

Markstrom • Vladar


Kraken

Forward

Donato • Beniers • Eberle
McCann • Wennberg • Kuhlman
Rask • Gourde • Lind
Sheahan • Geekie • Donskoi

Defence

Dunn • Larsson
Oleksiak • Borgen
Soucy • Fleury

Goal

Grubauer • Driedger

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