GAME NIGHT: Calgary Flames at Toronto Maple Leafs – Sault Star

Author of the article:

Lance Hornby

Calgary Flames' Matthew Tkachuk (right) celebrates a goal with Elias Lindholm.
Calgary Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk (right) celebrates a goal with Elias Lindholm. Photo by Darren Makowichuk /Postmedia Network

Calgary, 7-2-3, 2nd in the Pacific Division

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at Maple Leafs, 8-5-1, 2nd in the Atlantic

Tonight, 7 p.m., Scotiabank Arena, TV: TSN4 Radio: TSN 1050

Flames and Fame

The long-delayed Hall Of Fame Game for the class of 2020 is scheduled around Calgary great Jarome Iginla’s induction this coming Monday and his presence should be a boost for the visitors. They could’ve used Iggy on the ice in Tuesday’s 4-1 home loss to the Sharks and Thursday in Montreal, but it has otherwise been a positive start for the club, which missed the playoffs last year and is in a hyper-competitive division/conference. Oliver Kylington, a Swedish-Eritrean forward drafted in 2015 one pick ahead of Toronto’s Jeremy Bracco, had a six-game points streak halted on Tuesday, as did Matthew Tkachuk. Toronto-born Andrew Mangiapane, who scored Calgary’s lone goal Tuesday, is on the long list of forwards for consideration on Team Canada’s Olympic squad.

Points leaders

Toronto

GP G A P          

John Tavares 13 7 6 13 0

Mitch Marner 14 3 10 13 0

Willian Nylander 14 7 6 13 0

Calgary

Elias Lindholm   12   7 7 14 +11

Johnny Gaudreau   12 4 10 14 +8

Matthew Tkachuk 12 6 5 11 +5

Three things about the Flames

1. The Leafs aren’t buying the narrative that the Flames will be tired coming off a game on Thursday night as teams that played previously or were undermanned have given them the most trouble so far. Last year’s North Division series was dominated by Toronto (6-2-1).

2. Jacob Markstrom is having a fine start with a .940 save percentage that put him first in the NHL among goalies with at least 10 games played before the Montreal game. With Markstrom getting the start in Montreal, coach Darryl Sutter is likely to go with Czech-born backup Dan Vladar, who has two wins this season. Unless, of course, Sutter rolls with Markstrom two nights in a row.

3. The Tkachuk-Jake Muzzin dynamic is always interesting as the boisterous Flame is developing a history against the big Leafs defenceman. Brett Ritchie, older brother of Leafs winger Nick, is on injured reserve with his foot in a boot cast.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Power play

Toronto 25.0% (9th)

Calgary 24.4% (11th)

Penalty kill

Toronto 86.4% (7th)

Calgary 86.1% (8th)    

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