A tough blow to the Calgary Flames was confirmed just moments before puck drop versus the Montreal Canadiens, as they will be without both MacKenzie Weegar and Elias Lindholm due to non-COVID related illnesses.
Related: Luke Schenn Not Looking to Be Traded By Canucks
Though Weegar hasn’t been the offensive blue liner Flames fans had envisioned when acquiring him alongside Jonathan Huberdeau this offseason, he has found a way to continue being effective, averaging nearly 21 minutes in ice time through his first 28 games of the season. While he has yet to score and has just six assists, past seasons suggest those numbers will soon improve.
As for Lindholm, he is a player who many, including head coach Darryl Sutter, believe is the Flames best all around player. While his offensive numbers have also taken a hit from a season ago, his 23 points still lead his teammates, while his nine goals trail only Nazem Kadri and Tyler Toffoli. Given that he just scored 42 goals and 82 points in 2021-22, it is fair to expect his numbers to continue to improve as the season moves along as well.
With Lindholm out, Sutter has chosen to go with a top line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Mikael Backlund and Tyler Toffoli, as well as a second line combination of Dillon Dube, Nazem Kadri and Andrew Mangiapane. This means that recent call up Matthew Phillips will remain outside of the top six, though he is slotted on the right wing of the third ling alongside another recent call up in Radim Zohorna, as well as Adam Ruzicka. Tonight’s game is a massive one for the Flames, as a win will place them ahead of the Minnesota Wild in order to reclaim the second and final wild card position in the Western Conference, while also tying them points wise with provincial rival Edmonton Oilers. That said, being able to pick up two points against a stingy Habs squad won’t come easy, especially without two of its top players.
Next: Horvat Rejects Contract From Canucks, Team Focused on Trade
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