Calgary Flames Daily: Game day, looking to get ahead

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 23: Sean Monahan
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 23: Sean Monahan /

It’s game day! After a six-game road trip, the Calgary Flames return back to the ‘Dome. They have the potential to move up in the Pacific Division tonight.

After a tie for a season-long six-game road trip, the Calgary Flames finally return back to the ‘Dome. They’ll start a four-game homestand tonight vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs – a team with young talent. The lineup will be slightly different tonight as well.

Against the Colorado Avalanche, Matt Bartkowski made the lineup over Brett Kulak. But tonight, it’ll be Kulak back in net. Kris Versteeg will also be missing his second straight game with a lower-body injury. Glen Gulutzan earlier this morning said that he’ll be evaluated again today and expects a full update within 48 hours. Freddie Hamilton has taken his spot on the wing on the fourth line and Matt Stajan will draw back into the lineup again.

Tonight, with a Flames win and an LA Kings loss in regulation, they’ll move up to second place in the Pacific Division. But on the other hand, if the Flames lose and the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks win, then the Flames will be out of a playoff spot altogether. That’s how tight the Western Conference is right now. The Leafs on the other hand are sitting comfortably in second place in the Atlantic Division.

The Calgary Flames aren’t the only ones looking to get ahead. Johnny Gaudreau is currently tied for second place in points among all skaters. First place is only two points ahead. He’s been having lots of multi-point games lately. In fact, every game in his last eight games that he gets a point in, they’ve been multi-point games. Two of those eight games, he was pointless (wow, a slump. Trade him). But the other six, he had multi-point games in all of them.

Less than two weeks ago, Gaudreau was four points away from second place and six points away from first. If everything goes well tonight and the first line continues to dominate, he could very well tie Steven Stamkos for first place and potentially even surpass him. Which is incredible. If you had told me two months ago that Johnny Gaudreau has the potential to win the Art Ross this season, I wouldn’t believe it. But he could end up winning.

Related Story: Johnny Gaudreau could win Art Ross this season

It could be that the league has been cracking down a lot on slashing this season. So he’s not missing games with broken fingers anymore.

Via Sportsnet:

"“It’s just nice you don’t have to worry about that as much,” he said. “The refs have done a great job with harping down on that a little bit more. It gives us a little more space and time to make plays rather than worrying about breaking a finger or breaking a wrist or something.”“You can see less and less sticks around your wrists, your fingers,” said Gaudreau. “It was difficult [before]. I think a lot of skill players were getting it. When you have the puck on your stick that much in a game, players are going to start whacking and hacking.”"

Flames Tweet of the day

Hockey Tweet of the day

Some links surrounding the Flames

Leafs vs. Flames: Calgary built for the long haul (Toronto Star).

Game Day: Flames vs. Maple Leafs (Calgary Sun).

Crackdown on slashing has turned Johnny Gaudreau loose (Sportsnet).

Some links surrounding hockey and the NHL

Gabriel Landeskog suspended for cross-check on Matthew Tkachuk (Flame for Thought).

Pittsburgh Penguins injury update: Matt Murray likely out 2 to 4 weeks (Puck Prose).

5 players who could have a huge impact on the NHL’s second quarter (Sportsnet).

Mathew Barzal credits Islanders teammates for early NHL success (Sportsnet).

Next: Three stars of the week Nov. 20-26

That’s all in today’s Calgary Flames Daily!