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Posted On Tuesday, 11.08.2011 / 2:57 PM

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

Projected lineups for Flames, Wild

Here are the projected lineups for when the Calgary Flames face the Minnesota Wild tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome:

FLAMES
Alex TanguayRoman HorakJarome Iginla
Curtis GlencrossOlli JokinenRene Bourque
Niklas HagmanMatt StajanLee Stempniak
Tom KostopoulosDavid MossTim Jackman

Jay BouwmeesterChris Butler
Mark GiordanoScott Hannan
Derek SmithAnton Babchuk

Miikka Kiprusoff
Henrik Karlsson

WILD

Guillaume LatendresseMikko KoivuDany Heatley
Devin SetoguchiMatt CullenPierre-Marc Bouchard
Cal ClutterbuckKyle BrodziakNick Johnson
Colton GilliesDarroll PoweBrad Staubitz

Nick SchultzMarek Zidlicky
Marco ScandellaJared Spurgeon
Justin FalkNate Prosser

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding
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Posted On Tuesday, 11.01.2011 / 3:45 PM

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

Potential lineups for Flames, Canucks

CALGARY -- Against the Flames tonight, the Canucks are expected to use the same lineup they went with in Saturday's 7-4 win against the Washington Capitals. That means defenseman Alexander Sulzer, who signed as a free agent with Vancouver in July, will draw into his third consecutive game of the season after sitting out the first nine games of the season.

"I've really liked what I've seen from him on the right side," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "He seems to be the most comfortable out of the possibilities we have. I like the way he competes 1-on-1 and I like the way he moves the puck. As a (defenseman), when you're dependable and the coach knows what you're going to do on the ice, there's a confidence and a trust. So far with him we definitely have that."

For the Flames, their big change is dressing a 12th forward, which means Matt Stajan comes back into the lineup after sitting out the last two games as a healthy scratch.

Here's what the lineups for both teams likely will look like, based on this morning's practices:

FLAMES
Alex Tanguay - Brendan Morrison - Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - David Moss
Rene Bourque - Roman Horak - Lee Stempniak
Tom Kostopoulos - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
Derek Smith - Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff will start in goal, with Henrik Karlsson backing him up.

CANUCKS
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
David Booth - Ryan Kesler - Cody Hodgson
Chris Higgins - Manny Malhotra - Jannik Hansen
Aaron Volpatti - Maxime Lapierre - Dale Weise

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alexander Edler - Sami Salo
Keith Ballard - Alexander Sulzer

Roberto Luongo will be in goal, with Cory Schneider the backup.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.01.2011 / 3:40 PM

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

Stajan back in tonight for Flames

CALGARY -- Despite winning the last two games using a formula combining 11 forwards with seven defensemen, the Calgary Flames hope to extend their winning streak to three games with a win against the Vancouver Canucks tonight by returning to the more conventional 12-6 configuration.
That means welcoming center Matt Stajan back into the lineup.

"Well we are going to dress 12 forwards tonight so Matt's going in to play center ice for us," Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "We need Matt to come in and he's got to bring us some juice and he's got to be a real solid, competitive player for us. I'm not putting any expectations on him or anything like that. I just want him to come in and play well."

Stajan draws into the lineup after spending the last two games as a healthy scratch.

"I'd be lying if I said I'm not frustrated," Stajan said. "Obviously I'm not happy with the situation because I want to play -- every player does. I get my chance tonight and go in there and do a job. The good thing is we're starting to roll now. We're starting to win as a team."

The formula for staying in the lineup is simple, Stajan said.

"I've been pretty happy with my game so far this year and talking to Brent, obviously we'd like more production, but do the little things and the rest will come," he said. "I'm making sure I'm not turning the puck over and get the puck in deep and win faceoffs when I'm out there. Take care of the little things and hopefully the rest follows."

More in a bit with lineups for both teams.
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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 2:48 PM

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

Blues continue to ride the hot hand with Elliott

CALGARY -- The St. Louis Blues will turn to Brian Elliott tonight in hopes of pushing their season-high winning streak to four games.

Elliott has started the last three contests for the Blues and has allowed just four goals on 97 shots in that span. In all, Elliott is 4-0-0 with a 1.59 goals-against average and .950 save percentage this season.

"It's a decision based on performance and how the team is playing and what we feel he can give us tonight," Blues coach Davis Payne said.

The move leaves a struggling Jaroslav Halak on the bench.

"We know Jaro's a guy we're going to continue to lean on," Payne said. "He's a good goaltender. He's going to get that chance to go back in as well. Right now we feel we're making decisions based on what gives our team success tonight."

The Blues have already found success against Calgary this season, defeating the Flames 5-2 on Oct. 10. Calgary will look to even the season series and will be aided by the return of Curtis Glencross, who was absent from Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

Though there was optimism Glencross could play against Colorado, the team opted to err on the side of caution and kept him out of the lineup. The extra time to recover was important, Glencross said.

"You don't want something that lingers and something that's nagging the whole time," he said. "If you come back a little early then you're hurt for a couple weeks. It was good to get a couple days and get some treatment. I feel good now."

Calgary went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen in his absence. Head coach Brent Sutter said he liked what he saw out of the lineup, which allowed defenseman Anton Babchuk to draw back into the lineup.

"Tonight there's probably a good chance it could happen again," Sutter said. "I thought it worked well the other night. It was good to see Babs back in the lineup and playing. He was a key contributor to our third goal on the power play and we can use his shot on the power play. I never wanted to take any other defense out of the lineup. By doing that we had to go down to 11 forwards."

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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 2:45 PM

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

Projected lineups for the Flames, Blues

Here's how the lineups could look when the Calgary Flames take on the St. Louis Blues tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome:

FLAMES

Alex TanguayBrendan MorrisonJarome Iginla
Curtis GlencrossOlli JokinenDavid Moss
Lee StempniakRoman HorakRene Bourque
Tom KostopoulosTim Jackman

Chris ButlerJay Bouwmeester
Mark GiordanoScott Hannan
Derek SmithCory Sarich
Anton Babchuk

Miikka Kiprusoff is expected to get the start in goal with Henrik Karlsson serving as his backup.

BLUES
Vladimir SobotkaDavid BackesChris Stewart
T.J. OshiePatrik BerglundMatt D'Agostini
Alex SteenJason ArnottJamie Langenbrunner
Evgeny GrachevScott NicholChris Porter

Kent HuskinsAlex Pietrangelo
Barrett Jackman – Kevin Shattenkirk
Carlo ColaiacovoRoman Polak

Brian Elliott is expected to get the start in goal with Jaroslav Halak serving as his backup.
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 3:37 PM

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

Flames' Glencross questionable to face Avalanche

If the Calgary Flames hope to avoid a season-high three game losing streak against the division rival Colorado Avalanche tonight, they may have to do it without a key contributor.

Curtis Glencross, whose 3 goals are enough for a share of the team lead with Rene Bourque, is questionable for the game. He did not practice with the team Tuesday, citing lower-body soreness, but participated in today's optional skate.

"We need him to play like he can," Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "We don't want to have him playing if it's something where he's only playing at a part capacity he can play at. He'll let us know. He felt much better today. He wants to give it a shot, so we'll make that decision after warm-up."

If he does decide he can go, Glencross will be reunited with Olli Jokinen and David Moss, a line that found its share of success a season ago.

"We're all on the same page," Glencross said. "We have the same mentality of cycling the puck and getting pucks to the net. We make it tough on other team's top lines when we can play a lot of time in their end and keep them out of our zone. Any time we can get it in and cycle the puck around and kill time, that's our job."

The trio had 9 goals and 12 assists against the Avalanche last season, helping the Flames to a five-game win streak over Colorado.

The Avalanche are hoping struggling center Matt Duchene can step up in order to defeat the Flames and extend their personal road winning streak to seven games, which would tie the franchise record set in 1999.

"I think Matty knows that he needs to be better for us and I'm quite confident he will be better," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "He has gotten off to bit of a slow start. The good news is the team has responded well. With him it's a matter of just sticking with it. It's only eight games into the season here. There's still a marathon left."

Duchene, who led Colorado in scoring a season ago, is coming off a season-low 11:35 of ice time in the club's 5-4 shootout victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. He's expected to skate between Joakim Lindstrom and Chuck Kobasew against the Flames.

"It's only eight games in," said Duchene, who has just 1 goal to start the year. "I don't think you can classify it as a bad start until game 20. Hopefully I can recover and help this team, but we're winning so they haven't really needed anything from me yet. Hopefully when they do need it I can help out."
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 3:19 PM

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

Potential lineups for Avalanche, Flames

These are how the lineups might look when the Colorado Avalanche face the Calgary Flames tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome:

FLAMES
Alex TanguayBrendan MorrisonJarome Iginla
Curtis GlencrossOlli JokinenDavid Moss
Rene BourqueMatt StajanLee Stempniak
Tom KostopoulosRoman HorakTim Jackman

Jay BouwmeesterChris Butler
Mark GiordanoScott Hannan
Derek SmithCory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff is expected to start in goal with Henrik Karlsson serving as the backup.

AVALANCHE

David JonesPaul StastnyMilan Hejduk
Gabriel LandeskogRyan O'ReillyDaniel Winnik
Joakim LindstromMatt DucheneChuck Kobasew
Cody McLeodTJ GaliardiJay McClement

Jan HejdaErik Johnson
Shane O'BrienKyle Quincey
Ryan WilsonRyan O'Byrne

Semyon Varlamov is expected to start in goal with Jean-Sebastien Giguere serving as the backup.
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Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 1:19 PM

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

Kiprusoff expected to be back for Flames

Miikka Kiprusoff is expected to return to the crease as the Calgary Flames take on the Nashville Predators in a Saturday matinee.

Kiprusoff, who the Flames are hoping to give a lighter workload to this season, watched his club gave up a goal with 1.4 seconds left in overtime to fall 3-2 to the New York Rangers on Thursday.

The Predators, meanwhile, will have the services of defenseman Shea Weber against Calgary. Weber was fined $2,500, but not suspended, by NHL Vice-president of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan for an illegal hit on Jannik Hansen of the Vancouver Canucks.

Here are the projected lineups:

Calgary Flames

Alex TanguayDavid MossJarome Iginla
Curtis GlencrossOlli JokinenLee Stempniak
Niklas HagmanBrendan MorrisonRene Bourque
Tom KostopoulosMatt StajanTim Jackman

Jay BouwmeesterChris Butler
Mark GiordanoScott Hannan
Cory SarichDerek Smith

Miikka Kiprusoff
Henrik Karlsson

Nashville Predators

Colin WilsonDavid LegwandMatt Halischuk
Sergei KostitsynNick SpalingCraig Smith
Jordin TootooJerred SmithsonBrian McGrattan
Patric HornqvistBlake GeoffrionNiclas Bergfors

Ryan SuterShea Weber
Jonathon BlumKevin Klein
Jack HillenTeemu Laakso

Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback
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Posted On Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 4:31 PM

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

Henrik vs. Henrik in Calgary

Henrik Karlsson will be in net for the Calgary Flames against the New York Rangers tonight, as the Flames look to win their second straight game on their current six-game homestand.

"As far as Hank (Karlsson) goes, we're confident and there's no change to our game plan when he's in or when Kipper (Miikka Kiprusoff) is in," Flames defenseman Mark Giordano said.

Calgary is hoping to use Karlsson more this season to alleviate Kiprusoff's workload. Kiprusoff has played at least 71 games in each of the previous six seasons.

"We have a plan in place that we're going to stick to,” Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "It could change, but at this point in time we're going to stick to it. We've said all along we want to see Kipper playing in less games and he personally knows it's the right thing for him, too. To do that we have to get our other guy in and Karl is going to have an opportunity to play."

The Rangers are expected to counter with a Henrik of their own.

Henrik Lundqvist should get the start for the Rangers. He turned aside all 40 shots he faced in a 4-0 shutout of the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

It will be Lundqvist's 31st consecutive regular-season start, dating to Feb. 11, 2011.

The game also marks the Calgary debut of Rangers defenseman Tim Erixon. Erixon was selected by the Flames in the first round in the 2009 Entry Draft. Unable to come to a contract agreement, however, the 20-year-old was dealt, along with a fifth round pick, to the Rangers in exchange for center Roman Horak and a pair of second round picks.

Had the Flames not signed or traded Erixon, the defenseman would have re-entered the draft.

Erixon is expecting a chilly response from the Calgary faithful.

"If they feel like they have to do that (boo him), that's up to them," Erixon said. "I don't really care about that. I'm just going to go out and play my game and focus on helping the team."

Here are the projected lineups for each team based on this morning's practices:

FLAMES
Alex Tanguay - David Moss - Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Lee Stempniak
Niklas Hagman - Brendan Morrison - Rene Bourque
Tom Kostopoulos - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
Cory Sarich - Derek Smith

Henrik Karlsson will start in goal, with Miikka Kiprusoff the backup.

RANGERS
Derek Stepan - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Artem Anisimov - Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Mike Rupp - Erik Christensen - Kris Newbury

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Tim Erixon - Michael Del Zotto
Jeff Woywitka - Steve Eminger

Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal, with Martin Biron serving as the backup.





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Posted On Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 3:28 PM

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

Battle of Alberta debut for Nugent-Hopkins

Edmonton Oilers rookie center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has experienced a lot of firsts in his four-game NHL career.

His fifth contest will introduce him to another one -- the Battle of Alberta.

While Nugent-Hopkins, the first pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, hasn't experienced the clash first hand, he's more than familiar with it, having played his junior hockey in Red Deer, which is situated almost exactly between the two Alberta cities.

"You always watch these games and they're always intense," Nugent-Hopkins said.  "There's obviously a big rivalry between the two teams. It should be really fun."

If Nugent-Hopkins is unsure of what to expect, he can ask teammate Jordan Eberle.

Eberle was introduced to the Battle of Alberta in his first National Hockey League game last season, scoring his first NHL goal -- this highlight-reel beauty -- against Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff



"It was a lot of energy in Rexall and probably my fondest memory in the NHL," Eberle said. "Everyone remembers their first goal and that was special to me."

Flames forward Curtis Glencross is hoping to make Nugent-Hopkins' Battle of Alberta debut a little less memorable.

"He's been walking around untouched for a few games," Glencross said. "It's not our style of game. There's a good chance our line will be up against him tonight, so we'll have to get some bangs in early and see how he likes hitting."

The contest could mark the season debuts for players on both sides.

Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney, recovering from an ankle injury, is expected to be in tonight's lineup, as is Flames center Brendan Morrison, who has been sidelined recovering from surgery to repair a torn knee ligament.

Morrison, who will decide following pre-game warm-ups if he can go, said the Battle of Alberta would be a great way to test his knee.

"It will be a good test," he said. "It's not going to be a pond hockey game out there, I don't think. I'm looking forward to it if I do play. It's going to be a game-time decision here, so I'll prepare like I'm playing and I look forward to it."

If Morrison can't go, expect Roman Horak to take his place.

Flames forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond also looks to make his season debut tonight, adding some grit to what should be a physical affair. 

FLAMES
Alex Tanguay - David Moss - Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Lee Stempniak
Niklas Hagman - Brendan Morrison - Rene Bourque
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
Cory Sarich - Derek Smith

Miikka Kiprusoff will start in goal, with Henrik Karlsson the backup.

OILERS
Jordan Eberle - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Taylor Hall
Linus Omark - Eric Belanger - Magnus Paajarvi
Ryan Smyth - Shawn Horcoff - Ryan Jones
Ben Eager - Anton Lander - Lennart Petrell

Ladislav Smid - Tom Gilbert
Cam Barker - Ryan Whitney
Andy Sutton - Corey Potter

Nikolai Khabibulin will start in goal, with Devan Dubnyk the backup.

For more on today's game, check out the preview here.


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Quote of the Day

A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin.

— Detroit Red Wings center Stephen Weiss on his sports hernia surgery