Calgary Flames (16-9-2) at Columbus Blue Jackets (15-9-2)
5 p.m. MT, Nationwide Arena, Sportsnet West/Sportsnet 960 The Fan
THE BIG MATCHUP
Flames LW Johnny Gaudreau vs. Blue Jackets RW Cam Atkinson
These guys have a lot in common. Both were standouts for the NCAA’s Boston College Eagles. Both are now part of the NHL’s mighty-mite movement, each listed several inches shy of the 6-foot mark. Both are sitting atop their team scoring charts. Gaudreau, 25, contributed a pair of helpers during Sunday’s victory in the Windy City, stretching his current point-streak to four straight. Atkinson, meanwhile, is on a career-best 10-game tear. The 29-year-old has counted 10 goals and a half-dozen assists over that superb stretch. In case you were wondering how these Eagles alums measure up, Gaudreau is (allegedly) one inch taller at 5-foot-9, while Atkinson is listed about 15 lb. heavier.
FIVE STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
DOUBLE FOR THE DADS?
With Guy Gaudreau and Paul Giordano, Keith Tkackuk and Jim Treliving and the rest of their proud papas cheering them on, the Flames opened their Dad’s Trip with a 3-2 squeaker Sunday against the Blackhawks in Chicago. Derek Ryan, son of Tim, sniped the would-be game-winner on a five-minute power-play in the middle stanza, while Ron Smith’s puck-stopping son, Mike, preserved the victory with a highlight-reel scorpion-style save in the third. Their fathers would certainly love to see a sweep of this two-game getaway.
HEY BOYS, YOU’RE IN
Mike Czarnik and Paul Prout will get an opportunity to see their sons — a speedy winger and stay-at-home defenceman, respectively — in action against the Blue Jackets. Flames coach Bill Peters revealed after Monday’s practice in Columbus that both Austin Czarnik and Dalton Prout will be in the lineup after sitting as healthy scratches in Chicago. These are familiar surroundings for Prout, who spent parts of six seasons with the Blue Jackets.
PRAISE FOR PROUT
The 28-year-old Prout has been mostly a spare part this fall, suiting up for just one appearance so far with the Flames — that was way back on Oct. 6 — and logging four minor-league outings during a recent conditioning stint with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. “He’s a great teammate, zero maintenance for the coaching staff,” Peters said of Prout. “He works hard, beyond belief, each and every day, both on the ice and off the ice. He’ll be ready for his opportunity.”
STAYING OR GOING?
One of the hot topics in Columbus — besides, of course, the Ohio State Buckeyes just missing out on the College Football Playoff — is the future of sharpshooting winger Artemi Panarin, due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Blue Jackets are keen on keeping the 27-year-old Panarin, who erased the franchise record for both assists (55) and total points (82) last season, but his contract status could certainly become a distraction as the winter wears on.
THIS N’ THAT
Peters wouldn’t reveal his starting goalie for Tuesday’s tilt … The Blue Jackets, coming off a 3-2 road loss to the New York Islanders, are 4-0-1 in their past five dates in their home barn … The Flames have lost three in a row to the crew from Columbus and have a 3-6-3 record in these matchups since the Blue Jackets moved to the Eastern Conference in 2013 … Blue Jackets pivot Pierre-Luc Dubois has racked up six points — three of each — during a three-game spree.
Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Elias Lindholm
Matthew Tkachuk – Mikael Backlund – Sam Bennett
Andrew Mangiapane – Derek Ryan – James Neal
Austin Czarnik – Mark Jankowski – Garnet Hathaway
Mark Giordano – TJ Brodie
Noah Hanifin – Travis Hamonic
Dalton Prout – Rasmus Andersson
BLUE JACKETS LINEUP
Artemi Panarin – Pierre Luc-Dubois – Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno – Boone Jenner – Josh Anderson
Brandon Dubinsky – Alexander Wennberg – Oliver Bjorkstrand
Lukas Sedlak – Riley Nash – Markus Hannikainen
Zach Werenski – Seth Jones
Ryan Murray – Markus Nutivaara
David Savard – Scott Harrington
Flames — RW Michael Frolik (lower body), D Michael Stone (blood clot), D Juuso Valimaki (foot)
Blue Jackets — None.
Flames: 21.6% (21-for-97, 13th)
Blue Jackets: 16..7% (14-for-84, 23rd)
Flames: 76.2% (26th)
Blue Jackets: 79.5% (15th)
— Wes Gilbertson
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