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Flames at Lightning Preview: This could be the last time

Dec 16, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goaltender Dan Vladar (80) makes a save against Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Conor Sheary (73) during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Game #64 – Calgary Flames at Tampa Bay Lightning
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, SN360, SNP, ESPN+, Hulu

Opponent’s Site: Calgary Flames


The game before the trade deadline is always a weird one. On some teams, players know that they’re playing with certain teammates for the last time. On other teams, players don’t know if it’s their last game or not. Even when the puck drops, it seems most of the focus is still off of the ice.

Still, for the Lightning, it’s a game they would like to win, and two points that they can really use. After four days off, the Lightning are still in the same spot where they were when they last played, the second wild card spot. The Islanders have crept a little closer, but are still four points behind. Detroit lost their last two games and are still tied with the Bolts in points. All-in-all, not a bad outcome for the Bolts.

Following their practice on Monday, goaltending coach Frantz Jean spoke about the focus of the practice being on execution. If the Bolts can keep their game clean, they can run the ice with anyone with the line-up they have now. If they fall back into their careless ways, they could trade for Patrick Roy, Bobby Orr, and Mario Lemieux in their primes and still struggle to win.

As for Calgary, they just saw their top two defensemen leave the club. Their goaltender might be next. There will be some not-ready-for-prime-time players in the line-up tonight. Morale has to be low, but there are some veterans on this team that won’t let them roll over. Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, and MacKenzie Weegar are going to make sure that the team isn’t a pushover.

Kadri has played well of late with six points in his last five games. Even Huberdeau, who has struggled in his two seasons in Calgary, has put up four assists in his last five games. Noah Hanifin, the defensemen that many thought the Lightning had targeted, did skate on Amalie Arena ice, but just in practice. He won’t be on either side tonight as he was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night.

Another player who won’t be on the ice will be Tanner Jeannot, who still seems to be a few days away from game action. The team is taking it slow, making sure that he is 100% ready for action before he returns. Could the fact that the last two times he returned from an injury it seemed he came back too early be a factor? Possibly, but at the same time, they’ll need Jeannot for the stretch run and the playoffs. It’s better for him to miss games now than a month from now.

Based on the lines at practice the last couple of days, it looks like Austin Watson might be back in action on the fourth line. He hasn’t suited up since February 17 against Florida. Coach Cooper could also choose to go 11/7 as he has more recently, which would allow him to keep Max Crozier skating as well.

Stats Match-up

Game #64Tampa Bay LightningCalgary Flames
Overall Record33-24-630-26-5
Home Record19-8-416-14-1
Road Record14-16-214-12-4
Goals For211191
Goals Against213187
Power Play28.7%14.7%
Penalty Kill80.1%83.3%
Last 10 Games5-4-16-4-0
Stats via NHL and Natural Stat Trick


Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

Steven Stamkos – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel – Anthony Cirelli – Mitchell Chaffee
Mikey Eyssimont – Nick Paul – Conor Sheary

Tyler Motte – Luke Glendening – Austin Watson

Victor Hedman – Darren Raddysh
Calvin de Haan – Erik Cernak
Haydn Fleury – Nick Perbix

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Jonas Johansson

Calgary Flames Projected Lines

Andrew Mangiapane – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman

Andrei Kuzmenko – Nazem Kadri – Martin Pospisil

Jonathan Huberdeau – Yegor Sharangovich – Dryden Hunt

Jakob Pelletier – Kevin Rooney – Walker Duehr

MacKenzie Weegar – Rasmus Andersson

Oliver Kylington – Brayden Pachal

Dennis Gilbert – Jordan Oesterle


Jacob Markstrom

Daniel Vladar

The Playoff Race

Atlantic DivisionGames PlayedRecordPointsGames Remaining
Florida Panthers6343-16-49019
Boston Bruins6436-13-158718
Toronto Maple Leafs6135-18-87821
Wild CardGames PlayedRecordPointsGames Remaining
Detroit Red Wings6133-22-67221
New York Islanders6127-20-146821
Top 3 teams in the Atlantic make the playoffs, top two wild card teams also make the playoffs
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