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Posted On Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 3:14 PM

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

Moss' absence gives chance to Byron

CALGARY -- Like Ottawa, the Flames will be without a key member of its forward core.

Flames coach Brent Sutter confirmed center David Moss, who played just 6:52 after suffering a lower-body injury in Calgary's 4-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, will not play.
 
Moss' absence opens the door for Paul Byron to make his Scotiabank Saddledome debut. Byron was recalled from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League in time to join the club on its two-game road trip this past weekend, and he scored his first goal as a member of the Flames in Saturday's game in Colorado.

"It feels really good," Byron said. "I worked pretty hard down in Abbotsford. It feels good to be the one that gets to be called up."

Another Flame is nearing his season debut as well.

While he's not ready to play just yet, defenseman Brett Carson has resumed practicing with the Flames. Carson has missed training camp and the start of the regular season with a back injury.

"It's feeling a lot better," Carson said. "I made a lot of progression in the last couple weeks. I felt pretty good out there, now it's just a matter of strengthening it and making sure it's not just going to flare up again."
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Posted On Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 3:12 PM

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

No Neil for Senators

CALGARY -- While the rest of his Senators teammates are set to embark on the Western Canada leg of their current six-game road trip, veteran forward Chris Neil stayed in Ottawa.

Nursing an ankle injury, Neil did not join the team on their trip to Calgary and was placed on injured reserve.
 
Though the club has Bobby Butler and Erik Condra filling the role played by Neil, there is no replacing the 32-year-old, coach Paul MacLean said.

"You always miss Chris Neil and his physical play," MacLean said. "We lose his physicality and that presence that he brings to the rink every night. We don't have another element like that, but it's an opportunity for Bobby Butler to play and Condra to play up in the lineup a little bit. Condra's played real well in the place of Chris Neil."

While Neil is out, a familiar sight will be in net for Ottawa.

Goalie Craig Anderson is scheduled to make his seventh consecutive start for the Senators. Tonight marks the 17th game this season for the workhorse, who currently shares the lead in games played among goaltenders with Ondrej Pavelec of the Winnipeg Jets.
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Posted On Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 3:10 PM

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

Potential lineups for Flames, Senators

CALGARY -- Here is what the lineups for the Senators and Flames could look like tonight when they face off in Calgary.

FLAMES
Alex Tanguay - Mikael Backlund - Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Rene Bourque
Paul Byron - Roman Horak - Lee Stempniak
Tom Kostopoulos - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
T.J. Brodie - Derek Smith

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

SENATORS
Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Nick Foligno - Stephane Da Costa - Daniel Alfredsson
Kaspars Daugavins - Zack Smith - Erik Condra
Zenon Konopka - Jesse Winchester - Bobby Butler

Erik Karlsson - Filip Kuba
Chris Phillips - Sergei Gonchar
Jared Cowen - Brian Lee

Craig Anderson again will start in goal, with Alex Auld the backup.

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

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.08.2011 / 3:00 PM

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

Backstrom gets chance to reclaim Wild net

CALGARY -- Yesterday Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding was named the NHL's First Star of the Week after winning all three starts and posting a 0.99 goals against average and .968 save percentage.

Today he'll get some rest and serve as backup to Niklas Backstrom as the Wild take on the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

"It's not Backstrom over Harding," Wild coach Mike Yeo said of the decision in the crease. "When Hards was rolling we wanted to give him a chance to go but didn't want Backs sitting on the bench for two weeks and then all of a sudden throw him in the lineup and expect him to perform at the same level that he has. We eyed this as a game that would be a good opportunity for him to get back in there."

Backstrom's last start came on Oct. 27, a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

"I think that most people would agree having good goaltending is an important key to being successful as a team and without question it hasn't mattered who we put in the net," Yeo said. "Between Hards and Backy, both guys have gone in on their own turns and done a great job for us."

Cal Clutterbuck is questionable to play after suffering an injury in the second period of Saturday's game against the St. Louis Blues.

"We'll just see how I feel when I get up from my nap and decide if I'm going to take warm ups and then from there I'll decide if I play or not," Clutterbuck said.

Should he be unable to go, Warren Peters will slide into the lineup. Peters was called up from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League earlier today.

While Clutterbuck isn't certain to play, the Flames will be aided in tonight's game by the return of David Moss.

Moss missed Calgary’s 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche Sunday after blocking a shot against the Buffalo Sabres two nights prior.

"I feel good," Moss said after the morning skate. "I was able to skate today so I feel good to go. It happens and it's part of the game. Maybe (I'll) learn how to block shots better."

Flames coach Brent Sutter confirmed Moss' place in the lineup if he feels ready to go.

"If he's ready to play he's going to play," Sutter said. "He's a big part of our forward group up front and he seems like he's feeling quite a bit better today so it's a good sign."

Mikael Backlund is nearing his season debut for the Flames, but it wont be in tonight's game against Minnesota.

"Expect him soon," Sutter said of Backlund, who is recovering from a broken pinky finger. "We're going to continue to take it day-to-day here, get him through a few practices, but he's getting really close."

Backlund all but confirmed he was ready to go as soon as Calgary's coaching staff deemed fit.

"Obviously I want to play all the time," he said. "I don't want to sit out. It's boring. It's frustrating when you can't help the team. I've been pretty patient and positive all the time and I'll keep doing it until I get my chance to play again."
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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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There's no discouragement in that room. There's no issues there at all to be honest with you. It's more about, 'Hey, it's opportunities for players.' And if we become that bad of a team because of one player, it's not a real good sign for our hockey club. So this is part of sports. It's part of hockey.

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