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Holiday Heat: Kraken take on the Flames

The Need to Knows

The Time: 7 pm PT / 10 pm ET

The Place: Climate Pledge Arena

Where to Watch: TNT (which means the game will actually start closer to 7:30)

Where to Listen: KJR 93.3 FM

An Opposing Viewpoint: Matchsticks and Gasoline

Know Your Enemy

The Flames are finding it a tougher time this season than last year in a tight Pacific Division race, which has been more competitive this season with Vegas getting healthy and Seattle being much, much better this season. On Tuesday they lost the “Battle of Alberta” 2-1 to the Oilers and have to play back-to-back games traveling to Seattle.

The Flames are led by some great forward talent with Jonathan Huberdeau, Elias Lindholm, and Nazem Kadri, but they haven’t been able to put the pieces together consistently. Lately they’ve been playing with the lines in the top six, most recently adding the 34-year old glacial giant Milan Lucic.

The Flames started goalie Jacob Markstrom on Tuesday, so we should expect to see Dan Vladar in net in Seattle, who has really struggled this season, especially against Seattle — he gave up 5 goals on 26 shots when last these teams met.

But most importantly is Flames defenseman Christopher Tanev, brother of Kraken ghost-spotter Brandon Tanev. It wasn’t clear if Christopher would play this game, as he took a slapshot to the head and was sent to the hospital a couple of weeks ago. But he’s back and we have our brotherly rivalry intact.

Game Preview

Both of these teams have elected not to name a captain this season. The last captain for both these teams is the same person: Mark Giordano.

Players and coaches say the first game after the Christmas break starts out a little loosey-goosey, as teams are still trying to find their rhythm. If that’s true, there is a good/news bad/news situation.

Good news: the Kraken will be rested against a team that played last night.

Bad news: the Kraken will be rested against a team that played last night.

This being a division game and Calgary nipping on the heels of a playoff spot, this is essentially a four-point game. MoneyPuck has this as such a high leverage game that the Kraken playoff chances vary over 7% based on just this next game (only 1.2% of the season).

The Flames are trying things out with their lines and they are not a fast team. If Seattle can take advantage of the team’s slowness and fatigue without making too many mistakes of their own, they should be in a good spot to grab the 2 points and keep pace with the playoff standings.

Calgary is a tough, well-coached team and Seattle will not find it easy to gain quarter. But they do have a favorable matchup in a favorable spot and are in a good spot to keep the winning train rolling after collecting 5 of a possible 6 points so far in this (holiday-interrupted) homestand.