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Posted On Monday, 02.16.2015 / 3:12 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Bruins at Flames

CALGARY -- The Boston Bruins are looking to end a three-game losing streak when they visit the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

Forward Patrice Bergeron, whose Bruins find themselves three points up on the Florida Panthers for the second of two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference, admitted his team needs to show a little more desperation to pull out of the slide.

"I think desperation is part of what we need to bring, and just playing our system and playing our game and really going back to what's giving us success in January," Bergeron said. "I think desperation is one of the things that we need to bring. We need to just go out there and execute and find ways to have better pace to our game and better results.

"It's about going back and playing the system, playing the way you can and really executing what's been asked and just everyone doing their jobs."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.14.2015 / 2:41 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canucks at Flames

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo hasn’t played a full game in over two months, but coach Bob Hartley isn’t worried about starting him against the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s ready,” said Hartley, whose Flames will welcome Vancouver on the second half of back-to-back games. “We gave him a few third periods in the last couple of games and that was by design and the way that this guy practices, he’s ready. I’m feeling very confident about Karri.”

Since his last full 60-minute effort -- a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Dec. 11 -- Ramo has made just four appearances totaling 84:22 of action.

He was pulled midway through a 5-2 defeat to the New York Rangers on Dec. 16 after allowing four goals on 13 shots and did not play again until Jan. 7 against the Detroit Red Wings. Ramo was forced from action midway through the 3-2 loss against Detroit after colliding with teammate Raphael Diaz.

He missed Calgary’s next five games as a result of an upper-body injury.

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Posted On Friday, 02.06.2015 / 3:30 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Penguins at Flames

CALGARY -- Rookie Johnny Gaudreau was a little disappointed he didn't get to line up against Sidney Crosby for the first time when his Calgary Flames visited the Pittsburgh Penguins in mid-December. Crosby was out of the lineup with the mumps.

Gaudreau will get that chance Friday when the Flames welcome Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins to Scotiabank Saddledome.

"Growing up, I always watched him and he's a big part of the NHL,” said Gaudreau, 21. “I'm really fortunate to be playing against him.

“He's definitely a guy he looked up to. When I was growing up I never really had posters on my wall or anything but I was still a big NHL fan and he was one of the guys I always liked watching. It's just exciting to be a part of something like this."

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.04.2015 / 3:39 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sharks at Flames

CALGARY -- A tight grouping in the Western Conference has the Calgary Flames hoping for fewer games going beyond regulation.

Only two points separate the Flames and San Jose Sharks for second place in the Pacific Division. The Colorado Avalanche trail the Flames by four points for the second Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Minnesota Wild, Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings are each five points behind Calgary.

It's put a premium on wins and has made the Flames wary of three-point outings.

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Posted On Monday, 02.02.2015 / 3:52 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Jets at Flames

CALGARY -- With the Winnipeg Jets having lost three straight games, coach Paul Maurice knows teams behind them are gaining ground in the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But the Jets, holding down the first of two-wild card spots in the Western Conference, are more concerned with correcting their game starting Monday against the Calgary Flames.

"We've got enough on our plate with our game, our style, but they are and those are the facts," Maurice said. "The games are starting to wind down. There's not as many on the board anymore, so every game is huge. We've got to get back on track or it won't matter how many games we play. If we get back on track, and we expect to, it won't matter where you are in the standings. You've got to be playing well.

"We haven't been at our best the last three. Pieces of our game are good; pieces aren't. We've got to get back to a little bit more of a consistent level."

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Posted On Saturday, 01.31.2015 / 3:26 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Oilers at Flames

CALGARY -- Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall will not be featured in the latest installment of the ‘Battle of Alberta.'

Hall joined teammates in Saturday’s morning skate but isn’t expected to be an option when the Oilers play the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

“It’s good. It was nice to be out there with the guys again and positive to be able to put a skate on and start moving again,” said Hall, who has missed the past two games with a foot injury. “Hopefully I can get a good practice in tomorrow and get ready for San Jose (on Monday) but nothing for sure. It felt pretty good.”

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Posted On Thursday, 01.29.2015 / 3:01 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Wild at Flames

CALGARY -- It's not too early for the Calgary Flames to be looking both in front of them and over their shoulder.

Holding the second of two wild-card spots in the Western Conference heading into action Thursday against the Minnesota Wild, the Flames are keeping tabs on those teams around them.

"We have to be aware, it's our business," said Calgary coach Bob Hartley, who is expected to ice an identical lineup that beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Tuesday. "Obviously we're going to look [at the other scores] but at the same time we're just going to play our game. Once we're on the ice we can't focus on anything other than our job and doing our job. That's the fun part of [our situation]. We're starting February and we're right there, in the playoff picture, and that's motivating. We feel it from the fans and we feel it in the city. Just go out there and let's do our job and do it as good as we can and enjoy it."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.27.2015 / 3:46 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sabres at Flames

CALGARY -- The Buffalo Sabres are hoping the All-Star break can take the sting out of an 11-game losing streak and help right the ship in the process.

"Sometimes when you're in the storm you don't see where you're heading," said coach Ted Nolan, whose Sabres take on the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday.

"When you step back a little bit and refocus and re-energize yourself, you see what the ultimate goal is. Look at the Chicago Blackhawks. They didn't become the Chicago Blackhawks overnight. They had a lot of miserable years to get where they are. Pittsburgh did the same thing. We're going through that rebuild phase.

"We're going to hit some nasty storms, but if you have someone up on that flagpole saying, 'Hey, this is the direction we're going and we have to stay the course.'"

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Posted On Friday, 01.09.2015 / 2:24 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Panthers at Flames

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames defenseman Ladislav Smid will return to the lineup Friday against the Florida Panthers with a whole new perspective.

Smid, who returns after missing 10 games because of an upper-body injury, and wife Ashley welcomed twins into the world Christmas Eve.

"You hate to admit it, but nothing else really matters," Smid said. "Hockey doesn't matter as much. Our family just got bigger. I'm going to be focused on that."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 2:46 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Red Wings at Flames

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund has shown a lot of patience. It's about to pay off.

The 25-year-old is set to suit up in his first game after missing 29 straight with an abdominal strain Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings.

"It's a great feeling," Backlund said following Calgary's morning skate. "I'm really excited to get back playing here. It's been a long time. I'm just really excited. It's going to be a great feeling to step on the ice."

Backlund hasn't played since late October and had an abdominal procedure in November to correct a strain. He resumed skating in December and joined teammates in practices in the New Year.

The decision to return against Detroit was ultimately his.

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Quote of the Day

He scores 50 goals, they go in, they go in, and they go in. And I think, 'Why can't I do that?'

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on teammate Alex Ovechkin, who scored his 50th goal of the season Tuesday in a 4-2 win vs. the Hurricanes