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At the Rink blog

Flames re-tool lineup looking to break through

Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 1:14 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Flames re-tool lineup looking to break through
DETROIT -- It looks like the Detroit Red Wings aren't the only team hoping that a reshuffled lineup pays off on Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.

While Detroit is splitting up star forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and giving defenseman Mike Commodore his first regular-season action as a Red Wing, the Calgary Flames are also re-tooling their look.

Calgary, which is currently sitting 14th in the Western Conference standings just two spots behind Detroit, is mixing up the forward lines and defense pairs for this games against the Wings -- who are winless in five straight games.

"We'll have a different look in three lines tonight, to start with anyway," Flames coach Brent Sutter said after Thursday's morning skate. "We want to do certain things with certain guys to help them get going. That's all part of it as coaches to get guys through their early struggles. We're going to shuffle some lines up tonight and see if that can help."

Most notably, the Flames appeared to have Olli Jokinen at center on the top line with Curtis Glencross at left wing and Jarome Iginla staying put at his usual right wing spot. Iginla and Jokinen played on a line together a couple of years ago with success, but Sutter said things have changed since then.

"Olli's a different player than he was two years ago when Jarome and him played together," Sutter said. "Olli's role has changed. He's playing a different brand of hockey for us. He's being rewarded for changing his game and the way he's playing. He’s playing well and enjoying that role. Jarome will have to adjust somewhat to his new linemates and the way they play."

Iginla said he's up to the task.

"They're playing really well," he said of his potential new linemates. "They're quick players. They're fast. I'll work to get my feet going and keep up with them."

The Flames' second line will now likely feature Alex Tanguay (2 goals, 7 assists) and Lee Stempniak (1 goal, 3 assists) on the wings between center Brendan Morrison -- who hasn't scored a point in six games and has a minus-1 rating.

Defensively, expect Anton Bachuk to get back into the lineup on the second pairing with Scott Hannan and Mark Giordano to move to the third pair with Cory Sarich.

Quote of the Day

My focus is always just to play as well as I can and do my job, no matter where the faceoff is.

— New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin on using his speed to his advantage
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