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Posted On Friday, 04.12.2013 / 2:35 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Smith's return sparked postseason hope for Coyotes

CALGARY -- The Stanley Cup Playoffs hope for the Phoenix Coyotes could rest on the broad shoulders of Mike Smith.

The 6-foot-4 goaltender has stopped 93 of 95 shots since returning to the lineup against the Colorado Avalanche on April 6 after missing six games with an upper-body injury. He's earned four of a possible six points for a Coyotes club that enters action against the Calgary Flames on Friday night trailing the Detroit Red Wings by two points for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

According to coach Dave Tippett, Smith has been the injection the Coyotes needed as they try to close in on the Red Wings.

"We needed a guy that's going to take the ball and run with it," Tippett said. "We had a good week at home where we used three different goaltenders and got three wins, but ultimately if we're going to have a chance to be a playoff team, Smitty has to take that ball and run with it."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 4:17 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Flames bring back Jones after injuries

CALGARY -- After a rash of injuries up front, the Calgary Flames will welcome back Blair Jones to the lineup.

Jones was recalled from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League on Tuesday after it was clear Matt Stajan wouldn't be available against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.

Stajan and Jiri Hudler will miss the game, each with an upper-body injury. Brian McGrattan will also miss the game with a shoulder injury, paving the way for Jones' return.

"I'm obviously excited to be back," Jones said. "I got a chance to go and play a lot in [Abbotsford] but I'm just excited to be back and hopefully finish out the year here."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.03.2013 / 2:33 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

MacDonald in net as Flames host Oilers

CALGARY -- Miikka Kiprusoff reportedly is staying in the Stampede City, but it will be Joey MacDonald between the pipes for the Calgary Flames against the Edmonton Oilers at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

Kiprusoff, who reportedly nixed a trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier in the day, will serve as backup. He has been pulled in back-to-back games, including Monday's game in Edmonton after allowing three goals on six shots in Calgary's 4-1 loss. In relief, MacDonald stopped 13 of 14 shots.

The recent struggles of Kiprusoff helped persuade Calgary coach Bob Hartley's decision to start MacDonald against the Oilers.

"I think that Joey played very good and at the same time, it's been a tough couple of weeks for Miikka," Hartley said. "Just to give him a break at the same time, I think that Joey deserves the start."

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Posted On Friday, 03.29.2013 / 3:03 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Without Iginla, Flames face Blue Jackets

CALGARY -- The Columbus Blue Jackets will play the adversary as the Calgary Flames usher in the post-Jarome Iginla era on Friday.

Taking to the ice for the first time since trading their captain and franchise face, coach Bob Hartley and the Flames are ready to tackle life without Iginla.

"With the departure of Jarome, we're starting a new cycle," Hartley said. "That's the unfortunate thing or the fortunate thing of pro sports. You look at football, baseball, hockey, basketball, there comes a time when a great athlete leaves an organization, leaves a city and the next day it's still business. You have to roll up your sleeve and say 'What's next?'"

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.27.2013 / 2:39 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Night off for Kiprusoff as Flames host Avalanche

CALGARY -- Playing the tail end of a back-to-back set in split cities, the Calgary Flames are expected to start goaltender Joey MacDonald against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.

Miikka Kiprusoff started a night ago against the Chicago Blackhawks, making 33 saves in a 2-0 losing effort at the United Center, his fourth consecutive outing.

Citing travel and the birth of his second son Oskar last week, coach Bob Hartley is opting to give Kiprusoff the night off, starting MacDonald for the ninth time this season.

"He was a busy man in the last couple of games, plus the traveling plus the new baby and everything," Hartley said. "It's a lot on his plate. After talking with Kipper, we both decided that we would give the start to Joey MacDonald."

MacDonald is 3-5-1 with a 2.98 goals against average and .894 save percentage this season.


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Posted On Sunday, 03.24.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Backlund back in for Flames

CALGARY -- After a one-game absence, the Calgary Flames will insert forward Mikael Backlund back into the lineup for their game Sunday against the St. Louis Blues.

Backlund did not dress Friday in Calgary's 5-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He's playing through a bruise associated with a crack in a bone in his foot sustained blocking a shot in a March 15 game against the Nashville Predators.

"When I'm out there playing I don't think about it," Backlund said. "Obviously it's not fully recovered, but it's not bothering me through games. It wasn't my best road trip so I've got to find a way back and get better."

Backlund missed 14 games earlier this season with a knee injury. He has four goals and seven points in 14 games this season.

The Blues, playing one night after their 3-0 win at the Edmonton Oilers, did not have a morning skate.

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Posted On Friday, 03.15.2013 / 1:52 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Flames, Predators

CALGARY -- Here are the projected lineups for Friday night’s game between the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome:

FLAMES

Alex TanguayMike CammalleriJarome Iginla

Curtis GlencrossMatt StajanLee Stempniak

Jiri HudlerMikael BacklundBlake Comeau

Tim JackmanSteve BeginBrian McGrattan

Jay BouwmeesterTJ Brodie

Dennis WidemanMark Giordano

Derek SmithChris Butler

Miikka Kiprusoff

Joey MacDonald


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Posted On Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 3:17 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Glencross a game-time decision after missing two

CALGARY – Having missed two games due to injury, it comes as good news to Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley that forward Curtis Glencross is a game-time decision.

Having finally iced a healthy lineup with the return of Mikael Backlund on Friday, Glencross missed a back-to-back set against the Los Angeles Kings with an upper-body injury but could return Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.

“That’s great news for us because obviously he’s a big part of our forward group," Hartley said. "He’s a big part of our team. That was great news.”

Glencross has eight goals and 13 points in 22 games for the Flames this season.

Here’s Calgary’s projected lineup against Detroit:

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 3:00 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Red Wings’ Filppula returns, Howard ill in Calgary

CALGARY – Facing a variety of lineup changes as the Detroit Red Wings prep for the Calgary Flames, coach Mike Babcock almost overlooked the return of forward Valtteri Filppula.

“Yep. He’s in," Babcock said casually. "Oh I guess that’s another lineup thing,”

Filppula has missed the past seven games for the Red Wings after suffering a shoulder injury against the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 24. In his absence, Detroit has scored 10 goals and gone 3-2-2.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 3:08 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Sharks, Flames

CALGARY – Here are the projected lineups for Wednesday night's game between the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks at Scotiabank Saddledome:

FLAMES

Curtis GlencrossMatt StajanLee Stempniak

Jiri HudlerRoman CervenkaJarome Iginla

Alex TanguayMike CammalleriSven Baertschi

Steve BeginBlake ComeauBrian McGrattan

Jay BouwmeesterMark Giordano

Dennis WidemanChris Butler

TJ BrodieDerek Smith

Miikka Kiprusoff

Joey MacDonald

Scratched: Anton Babchuk, Tim Jackman, Cory Sarich

Injured: Mikael Backlund, Paul Byron

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