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5 THINGS - FLAMES VS. GOLDEN KNIGHTS

Flames open three-game homestand tonight vs. Vegas

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

FLAMES (41-20-7; 89 PTS) vs. GOLDEN KNIGHTS (37-26-5; 79 PTS)

7:30 p.m. | TV: Sportsnet One | RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN

Season Series: 1-2-0

All-time: 2-5-0

Flames Home Record: 20-7-5

Golden Knights Road Record: 16-16-1

Leading Scorers:

Flames:

Points - Johnny Gaudreau (84)
Goals - Gaudreau, Sean Monahan (30)

Golden Knights:

Points - Mark Stone (66)
Goals - Stone (29)

Video: Alanna Nolan sets up tonight's game

 

US

The Flames are coming off a 2-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, and have now lost four straight for the first time this season. The Flames, whose 235 goals are the fourth-most in the NHL this year, have hit a bit of a dry spell offensively, scoring only five goals during this four-game slide. Travis Hamonic - a stay-at-home defenceman - has two of them. "Right now they're not falling in the net for us," the Flames' leading point-getter, Johnny Gaudreau , said following Saturday's practice at WinSport. "We can turn it up. We're getting looks; we're getting our chances. ... It's a tough league. It's not easy to score. In difficult times, you've just got to push through." … The good news is the Flames have been getting plenty of chances during this rare drought. Over the past four games, they've had 57.9% of the even-strength shot attempts, 54.3% of the scoring chances, and 50% of the high-danger chances. In an effort to boost their offensive confidence, head coach Bill Peters will be going back to the 'tried-and-true' forward line combinations the Flames have used for much of the year for tonight's contest. Elias Lindholm will re-join Gaudreau and Sean Monahan on the top trio, while Matthew Tkachuk will slide down to his usual post on second-line right wing, alongside his fellow '3M' mates, Michael Frolik and Mikael Backlund . "They're due. They know it," said Peters. "They want to provide offence and we'll give them the opportunity to do that." … Sam Bennett , who left Thursdays' game in the third period after absorbing an awkward hit from behind, was looking no worse for wear during Saturday's workout. He will line up alongside Mark Jankowski and Austin Czarnik on the third line tonight. … David Rittich will start in goal.

 

Video: "It's going to be a tough test for us."

 

THEM

The Golden Knights are riding their second six-game winning streak of the season after handing the Vancouver Canucks a 6-2 loss last night at Rogers Arena. Mark Stone got the ball rolling with his first as a Knight just 1:32 into the game, while four others - Alex Tuch, Cody Eakin, Tomas Nosek and Paul Stastny - also had first-period markers, chasing Vancouver netminder Jacob Markstrom with a five-goal, 16-shot firing squad in the opening 15 minutes of the game. Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves to record his fifth-straight victory and the 438th of his career, passing the great Jacques Plante for sole possession of eighth place on the all-time list. Fleury, who was named the NHL's First Star of the Week with a perfect 3-0 record, a 0.33 goals-against average, a .987 save percentage and shutouts last week, leads the NHL with 57 starts, 34 victories and eight shutouts. … With the win, the Knights improved to 38-26-5 on the year, and are now eight points back of the Flames for second in the Pacific. "We obviously played real well in the first and got that lead, but there was still a lot of hockey left to be played and I thought our guys played real hard the rest of the way," Knights head coach Gerard Gallant told Gary Lawless of VegasGoldenKnights.com. "Big game, it's a huge hockey game [tonight]. But we're worried about playing well and getting two points. We're not worried about trying to catch somebody - we're just worried about the two points."

 

US VS. THEM

The Golden Knights took a 2-1 decision last Wednesday in the first of back-to-back road tilts for the Flames, and now have a lead by that same margin in the season series. Travis Hamonic had the lone marker for the visiting squad that night, while David Rittich was sensational, stopping 36 of 38 in defeat. … While the Knights have taken both matchups at Sin City's T-Mobile Arena, the Flames are 1-0 on home ice this year, winning big back on Nov. 19 when Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk had four-point nights, and eight others factored in on the score sheet in a 7-2 victory at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames are 2-5 all-time against the Knights, with both victories coming at the 'Dome, and with the home side putting up seven goals. … If the playoffs were to start today, the Flames and Knights would face off in the first round, with Calgary getting home-ice advantage.

 

Video: "I think it's going to be very tight"

 

THIS, THAT & THE OTHER

THIS: The Flames are 20-7-5 on Scotiabank Saddledome ice this year, thanks in large part to the contributions of leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau is tied for fourth with 31 home-ice assists, and 11th in points with 44. As a whole, the Flames are tied for second (with the Winnipeg Jets) in goals, with 129, and have the fourth-best home-ice powerplay percentage at 26.5%. ... THAT: Sean Monahan is only one point away from tying Robert Reichel for 16th all-time in points in Flames franchise history. The 24-year-old Monahan has 353 points (168G, 185A) in 416 career games. ... THE OTHER: The Flames are the only team that has five players with 60 or more points. Gaudreau (84), Elias Lindholm (72), Sean Monahan (72), Matthew Tkachuk (63), and Mark Giordano (62) lead the way for the Flames. Only one player - Mark Stone - has more than 60 on the Golden Knights, and he was just acquired from the Ottawa Senators. Prior to that trade, Vegas' leading scorer was Jonathan Marchessault, who has 47 points (20G, 27A) this year.

 

Video: Flames score seven goals in win vs. Golden Knights 

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Flames - Austin Czarnik

Czarnik will play in his 100th career game tonight. The 26-year-old has 11 points (6G, 5A) in 40 games with the Flames after spending the past four seasons with the Boston Bruins organization. In his 99 career tilts, the Detroit product has 28 points (11G, 17A).

Golden Knights - Alex Tuch

Tuch is coming off his first-career three-point game with a goal and two helpers last night in Vancouver. The sophomore had gone quiet offensively, recording only four points (1G, 3A) in his previous 16 games after putting up 14 (4G, 10A) in the 13 prior to the that, but broke out in a big way last night. Overall, the 22-year-old sits third in Golden Knights scoring with a career-high 18 goals and 47 points.

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