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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 2:56 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames proud of recent accomplishments on home ice

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames hope to finish above .500 on home ice when hosting the Winnipeg Jets in their Scotiabank Saddledome finale on Friday.

"I think that would be a huge testament to the identity we've been working to create all year," said forward Kevin Westgarth, whose Flames sit 26th overall in the NHL and have long been out of the Stanley Cup Playoff picture. "Obviously we've had a lot of downs but a lot of ups as well, and to finish the season the way we have I think would be a huge plus going forward for next year."

The Flames, who conclude their 2013-14 season Sunday in Vancouver, have gone 12-4-0 at home since dropping a franchise record seven straight games at the Saddledome from Dec. 27-Jan. 16. They've outscored opponents 58-42 during their recent run.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 3:20 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings trying to stay sharp heading into postseason

CALGARY -- With three games remaining in the regular-season schedule, the Los Angeles Kings are in limbo.

Having clinched third place in the Pacific Division and unable to move up or down regardless of the outcome of their final games, the Kings await their first-round opponent when the puck drops on the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But there are still plenty of reasons to play, according to forward Justin Williams.

"It's where you learn how to be a professional," said Williams, whose Kings open a set of back-to-back games in Alberta against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. "It's all about professionalism and finishing off the right way. You have to be playing good hockey coming into the postseason. It's not a switch as many like to think that you can just flip on come playoff time. You have to be trending in the right direction, and these last three games are important for us."

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.28.2014 / 3:28 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Rangers trying to maintain focus against Flames

CALGARY -- With an eye on the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference standings, the New York Rangers kick off a four-game road trip against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

The Rangers, riding a five-game winning streak, sit second in the division, three points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers hold two games in hand.

"We need to push each other and we need to continue playing well because teams are winning around us," Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "Everyone is playing desperate hockey right now, and now is the time to just put it all out there. We only have eight games to go. It was a challenging start for us at the start of the year, but I think the second half we've been playing a lot better and the results have been there."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 2:55 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ducks aiming higher after clinching playoff spot

CALGARY -- The Anaheim Ducks clinched a second consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff appearance to little fanfare.

Their sights are set higher.

The Ducks, who kick off a three-game Western Canadian road trip against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, trail the San Jose Sharks by four points but hold three games at hand in the race for a Pacific Division title.

"We're disappointed we didn't clinch it sooner," said Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau, whose Ducks clinched after the Dallas Stars lost 4-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. "We haven't played well the last 15 games. You take the previous 55 games and you'd think that we would've clinched it sooner. Nobody said anything today [about clinching].

"I don't want to sound like we're bragging, but we should be in the playoffs from what our first 55 games were. Hopefully we're just not going to get into the playoffs. Hopefully we're going to win the division and do some damage."

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.24.2014 / 3:25 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks can clinch; McLellan wants focus on Flames

CALGARY -- The San Jose Sharks hope to clinch a 10th consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff berth when they play the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

The Sharks need a single point against the Flames to earn their way in.

San Jose would also clinch if: the Phoenix Coyotes lose to the New York Rangers in regulation; the Winnipeg Jets defeat the Dallas Stars in regulation; or both the Coyotes and Stars lose in overtime or a shootout.

"You like to see that little 'x' beside your name in the standings," Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said. "We need to play well, but we also need to get that next win to get that."

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.21.2014 / 3:45 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames' Agostino, Predators' Jarnkrok set for debuts

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators will get a chance to glimpse parts of their respective futures when Flames forward Kenny Agostino and Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok make their NHL debuts Friday at Scotiabank Saddledome.

"I'm feeling great. I'm excited," said Agostino, who capped his career at Yale University with 14 goals and 32 points in 33 games. "I'd be lying if I said I probably won't have some nerves that first shift. Everyone's been telling me, the coaches, players, it's just hockey. Have fun. Enjoy it."

After his four-year collegiate career with Yale ended last week, Agostino signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Flames on Monday.

He joined the team Tuesday and has spent the week practicing with the club in an attempt to bring the 22-year-old up to speed to face the Predators.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 3:39 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres' Lieuwen makes first start in familiar territory

CALGARY -- Buffalo Sabres goaltender Nathan Lieuwen should feel right at home at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Lieuwen will make his first NHL start Tuesday against the Calgary Flames in the same building he made his junior debut for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League as a 16-year-old almost seven years ago. The 6-foot-5, 186-pound goalie played his first junior game with the Ice against the Calgary Hitmen, stopping 28 of 33 shots in a 5-1 loss Sept. 24, 2007.

He'll look for a more favorable first start with the Sabres.

"This is a great place [for him]," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "He sees the Hitmen here. He's played in this rink before. He's played in the West before. It's a good place to have his NHL debut as a starter."

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 3:17 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames' Stajan eager to return after personal tragedy

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames center Matt Stajan is ready to take a step forward.

The Flames will welcome Stajan back into the lineup Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres after he missed the past eight games to be with his wife, Katie, following the loss of newborn son Emerson on March 3.

"Obviously you realize what the most important things are in life, and that's family," Stajan said following practice Monday, his first with teammates since leaving the club. "This is like my second family coming here. Everybody's been so great and helpful.

"Going on the ice, it's a nice place for any player to get skating and clear the mind. It's been refreshing the last couple days on my own skating. And to get back on the ice skating, it's another step. It's exciting for me to move forward here.

"I want to play. You've got to keep taking steps forward. I want to get right back into game action. That's what hockey players want to do. That's the plan and I'm excited to get right back at it."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 3:44 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames' Glencross to return against Ducks

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames will have forward Curtis Glencross in the lineup when they play the Anaheim Ducks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

Glencross hasn't played since sustaining a high ankle sprain in the first minute of a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 21, a span of 29 games.

"Anytime you come back you want to start right back up where you left off," Glencross said. "Things were just starting to get rolling again when I got hurt there in Pittsburgh. Hopefully it doesn't take too long to get back the timing. Hopefully we can get the bugs out of the way early and hopefully get better and better as we go on."

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.10.2014 / 3:39 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings hope to keep momentum going in Calgary

CALGARY -- The Los Angeles Kings hope to keep their post-Olympic roll going when they visit the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

The Kings have won seven straight dating to their final game prior to the Olympic break, the fourth-longest stretch in club history and longest since establishing a new franchise mark at nine from Jan. 21-Feb. 6, 2010.

"I think we're just back playing with confidence," said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. "We had a little bit of a down slope right before the Olympics. The guys really took it upon themselves to turn things around. We were drifting out of a playoff spot. We need to get back into that. We know how good this team can be when we do get into the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs."

The stingy Kings have allowed 10 goals during the streak. More surprisingly, Los Angeles has had an offensive outburst, finding the back of the net 22 times during the run.

The spike in offense, much like the Kings' turnaround, isn't much of a surprise to coach Darryl Sutter.

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I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday