Game Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets Return Home To Host Pacific Division-Leading Calgary Flames

By Dan Dukart on December 4, 2018 at 9:39 am
Mike Smith of the Calgary Flames makes a big save against the Blue Jackets.

Aaron Doster – USA TODAY Sports

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The Columbus Blue Jackets host the Pacific Division-leading Calgary Flames in a clash of two of the hotter teams in the NHL.

The Blue Jackets look to avenge Saturday night's loss in Long Island to the Islanders, while the Flames look to build on their most recent win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Flames have exceeded expectations so far this year, and have gotten surprisingly solid goaltending from the Mike Smith/David Rittich tandem. 

PROJECTED LINES

Panarin – Dubois – Atkinson

Foligno – Jenner – Anderson

Dubinsky – Wennberg – Bjorkstrand

Sedlak – Nash – Hannikainen 

DEFENSEMEN

Werenski – Jones

Murray – Nutivaara

Harrington – Savard

GOALTENDER

Bobrovsky

STORYLINES

  • Blue Jackets fans may remember Flames bench boss Bill Peters from his time with the Carolina Hurricanes. Peters has found a nice groove in Calgary, and has pushed the right buttons so far this year. Make no mistake, unlike his Carolina teams of years past, this team has real firepower. The Flames boast four of the top 50 scorers in the NHL, with Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm all in the top 30 in the league.
  • He's no Rick Nash, but the Blue Jackets will welcome old friend Dalton Prout back to Columbus. This is Prout's first season in Calgary, and he's played just one game, but Peters wanted Prout to play. Here's what Peters had to say of Prout on Monday: "They're a big strong team, a heavy team, a lot of o-zone grind time ... he defends real well, a heavy body up front. We'll get him in and get him going again." 
  • The Flames didn't get to the top of the division by accident. It's a reasonably well-constructed team with scoring threats up and down the lineup. James Neal has had a rough start to his first season in Calgary, but he's still a threat on their third line. The Gaudreau, Monahan, Lindholm line is one of the top first lines in the NHL, and watching that line go toe to toe with the Blue Jackets' top line should be a joy. Their second line of Tkachuk, Mikael Backlund, and Sam Bennett is equal parts talented as frustrating to play against. 

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