Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
After a series of line shuffles revived Calgary’s offense, it remains to be seen how the Flames will field their forwards against the visiting San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
Scoring hasn’t been a problem for the Flames all season, but Calgary has been shut out twice in three games heading into Saturday’s road meeting with the Vancouver Canucks. In response, Flames head coach Darryl Sutter completely revamped his four lines, and the result was immediate.
The Flames posted a 5-2 victory over the Canucks, scoring the first five goals of the game and edging Vancouver by a 44-25 margin. Matthew Tkachuk led the team with a goal and two assists, but contributions came from across the roster as nine Calgary players picked up at least one point.
Despite this outburst, Sutter did not commit to the idea of sticking to the new lines, implying it could have been a temporary move ‘to see if we were going to do anything’ .
“I haven’t had a lot of goals lately (in 5v5) from our goalscorers, (to be) completely honest,” Sutter said. “Very few occasions, other than odd man situations or that sort of thing. … I think sometimes you just have to freshen him up a bit. He can get a little stale.
Those are the kinds of experiences a team can have when they have a comfortable lead, as Calgary moved eight points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division standings on Monday. With their eyes firmly on a Stanley Cup run, the Flames are looking for the ideal roster composition heading into the playoffs.
The Flames made another minor addition ahead of Monday’s trade deadline, adding Chicago Blackhawks forward Ryan Carpenter for a fifth-round pick in the 2024 draft.
It’s a different story for the Sharks, who are second to last in the Pacific and realistically out of the hunt for the playoffs. San Jose traded forward Andrew Cogliano and defenseman Jacob Middleton in separate deals on deadline day, although they also picked up goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Middleton.
San Jose is building momentum with a thrilling 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday. After Lawson Crouse’s power-play goal gave Arizona a 2-1 lead at 15:09 of the third period, Timo Meier equalized just 22 seconds later, and Noah Gregor scored the goal. green light at 4:15 p.m.
“The good part about it is that we found a way. We did four good last minutes. … We found a way to win where many times this year it was the opposite,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said.
Sharks forward Jonathan Dahlen is doubtful to face the Flames after leaving Sunday’s game after being hit by a stray puck.
James Reimer has started three of four games since returning from a lower-body injury and is expected to be back in net for the Sharks on Tuesday.
Jacob Markstrom is the likely starter for the Flames. Markstrom has an outstanding 2.06 goals-against-average and .928 save percentage this season, and the goaltender has suffered just one regulation loss (14-1-2) in his last 17 decisions .
Despite the standings gap, the Sharks had Calgary’s number dating back to the 2016-17 season. San Jose is 11-3-0 in its last 14 games against the Flames, including wins in their first two meetings this season.
Tuesday’s game marks the start of a six-game homestand for the Flames. Since Jan. 18, Calgary has led the NHL in points (32) and wins (15-1-2) at home.
–Field level media