Earlier today, as the Calgary Flames prepare to start a two-game, mini-series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, two key roster moves were made. One was that David Rittich will start against the Maple Leafs this evening and the second is that Mikael Backlund will be back in the lineup.
Roster Move #1: David Rittich Will Start in Goal for the Flames
David Rittich will start in goal for the Flames in Sunday’s game against the Maple Leafs. That means that Jacob Markstrom likely will be starting in the second game of the back-to-back tomorrow night. Although Markstrom is clearly the team’s number one goalie this season, that doesn’t mean that Rittich has played poorly. On the contrary, Rittich has played quite well.
On the season, Rittich has recorded a goals-against-average of 2.79 and a save percentage of .907 to go with his 4-6-1 record. He’s played especially well against the Maple Leafs, posting a save percentage of .962 save percentage that includes a shutout to go with his his 1-1-1 record facing Toronto.
However, the Maple Leafs have been hot – or rather their goalie Jack Campbell has been hot. Likely those two things go together. Regardless, the Maple Leafs enter tonight’s game having won five of their last six. It will be a tough games for the up-and-down Flames.
Roster Move #2: Mikael Backlund Will Return to the Flames’ Lineup
Mikael Backlund didn’t skate during the Flames’ optional skate on Saturday and he didn’t play on Friday night against the Edmonton Oilers. However, after the first report that he was “doubtful” for tonight’s game but that Flames’ head coach Darryl Sutter hadn’t ruled him out, the update is now that he will in deed return to the team’s lineup. His injury was undisclosed.
The 32-year-old Backlund has scored six goals and 13 assists (for 19 points) in 36 games this season. There’s a good chance that he’ll line up in the team’s top-six and will find some power-play reps during Sunday’s game.
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