Sarich, a healthy scratch for the last four games, is eager to make his presence felt on the Flames' blueline.
"Playing good defense is the No. 1 key and then trying to get some licks in when I can has always been a big part of my game," Sarich said. "I think I'm usually at my best when I'm playing physical."
For the most part this season, the Flames have rotated Sarich, Chris Butler and Derek Smith in and out of the lineup. Anton Babchuk, who is ready to return from an upper-body injury, further crowds the blue line.
Sarich, who will step in for Smith, is already used to the rotation.
"I've seen it enough now that I know what I need to do personally," he said. "Mentally I've dealt with it enough I think in and out of the lineup over the last couple years that this isn't going to phase me."
Though Sarich will see action tonight, forward Michael Cammalleri will not.
Cammalleri, who has missed the last two games with a hip flexor, is ruled out for the contest according to coach Bob Hartley and has been placed on the injured reserve list retroactive to Feb. 5.
"He's getting much better," Hartley said. "He skated yesterday and he's getting closer so he's on the ice this morning with us. Cammy's doing better, but he will not be in the lineup tonight."
Here is a look at who will take to the ice for the Flames when they face the Wild.
Cory Schneider started the Canucks' game last week in Minnesota, where Luongo has had notoriously poor performances in his career. Schneider won and had a solid outing, and he got the nod again Saturday against Calgary, earning a 5-1 victory over the Flames.
This will be Vancouver's 12th game of the season and will mark an even split between Luongo and Schneider in terms of starts (Luongo also has one appearance in relief of Schneider in the season opener).
Luongo currently posts a 3-0-2 record with a 1.53 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.
Schneider has won two straight for a 4-2-0 record with a 2.36 GAA and .921 save percentage.
Leading up to the 2012-13 season, Patrick Kane was simply an enigma from a fantasy standpoint.
At that time, Kane was on the fast track to stardom. So why was he selected on average in the third round of fantasy drafts entering this season with an average position of 32.8 in Yahoo leagues?
Wild coach Mike Yeo confirmed Backstrom would start after the team's morning skate, but said he didn't have a plan beyond Monday, even with a game in Vancouver on Tuesday.
"Just going into [Monday] right now," Yeo said. "Spent very little time thinking about [Tuesday]. That's important for our entire group, that we're not thinking about last game or [Tuesday's] game. We're just ready to play against a team that we know is going to be hungry and come out hard."
With just five goals in their last four games, Devin Setoguchi said the Wild will rely heavily on a strong performance from their goaltender.
"You need good goaltending in this League and we've got it," Setoguchi said. "We're not scoring goals, definitely [Backstrom] needs to play good and he has been and we need to help him out here."
Yeo ruled out the return of defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who will miss his ninth consecutive game with a lower-body injury.
"He's getting closer, yeah," Yeo said. "Conditioning-wise he's looking good. Ideally I wish we had a few practices here to get him in and see how he's looking, but he's getting closer.”
Here is the lineup the Wild are expected to ice against the Flames:
Injured: Jared Spurgeon
So we're just about one quarter of the way into the current NHL season, and while there is plenty of time for some teams to turn their fortunes around, there are plenty that are coming up short in the expectations department. From where I sit, these are the five teams in the NHL that have underachieved the most so far this season.
I think this is the most underachieving team of the year by far. When you look at their lineup, all the moves they've made and the money they've spent, for this team to be among the worst in the NHL is pretty crazy. None of their players are playing well, Mike Ribeiro hasn't been a good substitute for Alexander Semin, and despite their win Saturday night, they just aren't good at anything. Their numbers are bad defensively, they're bad offensively, it's sort of a complete breakdown.
Add into that that the goaltending has been inconsistent and it certainly doesn't help. Braden Holtby was very good Saturday night and Michal Neuvirth has been very good at times, but both have also been very average at times. To the goalies' credit, though, we need to keep in mind that they don't have the New Jersey Devils playing in front of them. Holtby and Neuvirth see a lot of two-on-ones and three-on-twos. That's tough for a young goaltender, and it goes right back to the defensive breakdowns the Capitals have been prone to this season.
Palushaj will make his Avalanche debut. He was claimed off waivers Feb. 5 from Montreal. Palushaj, 23, has one goal and four assists in 41 career NHL games. He had one goal and four assists in 38 games last season with the Canadiens, and 15 goals and 20 assists in 35 games with Hamilton in the American Hockey League.
TORONTO -- Maple Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson will remain out of the Toronto lineup with a nagging hip injury but hopes to return soon.
Here is the lineup the Maple Leafs likely will put on the ice as they search for their fourth straight win, something they haven't done since Jan. 3-10, 2012, as well as for the visiting Philadelphia Flyers:
Scratched: Mike Komisarek
Note: Kings coach Darryl Sutter would not comment on who the starting goalie will be or any other lineup changes, although Bernier was the only netminder on the ice for Monday's morning skate and Quick was working extensively with scratches late after regular skaters left. It comes on the heels of Quick giving up a goal to Detroit's Jonathan Ericsson with 4.5 seconds remaining of a 3-2 Red Wings victory Sunday afternoon, and the Kings are playing their first back-to-back set of the season.
"You are allowed to ask," Sutter said jokingly about his starting goaltender for the game. "... Injury [to Quick's] a non-issue. That's a long time ago. That's a player that got hurt last year playing this year. That's not a factor. The factor that we have now is performance. It's simple. We're giving up three goals a game and you'll win one in three, which is kind of what we're doing. We need better goaltending; it doesn't matter who our goalie is, to tell you the truth."
Injuries: Jamie Langenbrunner (hip)
Note: The Blues get Halak (groin strain) back tonight after he missed the previous three-plus games. He was injured in the first period of a 5-3 loss at Detroit on Dec. 1. Elliott was 0-3-1 in Halak's absence and his numbers have dipped to 3-4-1 with a 3.51 goals-against average and .853 save percentage after leading the National Hockey League in both categories a season ago while tying with nine shutouts.
"The goalie gets the focus when things aren't going well," Hitchcock said. "Sometimes it's warranted and sometimes it's not. I think this is a combination. If you're talking about telling the truth, this is a combination where we needed Ells to play better, but we needed to play better in front of him."
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The old saying in hockey is 'weather the storm.' I put the notion in their heads that we don't want to weather the storm, we want to push just as hard and matched their work ethic. I thought our guys exceeded that in the first period.