CALGARY -- In what Brent Sutter called the Calgary Flames' most important game of the season to date, the coach will have one of his most veteran defenders back in the lineup Friday night.
Cory Sarich, who missed four games with an upper-body injury after a collision with David Jones of the Colorado Avalanche, will return to the lineup against the same team he last played against.
"I'm feeling really good," Sarich said. "The last three days I've felt like myself. I've felt normal. Skates have been normal. I'm excited to go out there and play."
With the Flames currently sitting 11th in a wild Western Conference race and their season hanging in the balance, Sutter is happy to have Sarich at his disposal.
"It's huge," Sutter said. "The way Cory had been playing, taking a presence like that out of your back end has definitely affected us in certain areas, so it's nice to have him back in our lineup."
The magnitude of the game isn't lost on Sarich, who watched his team win just one game in his absence, pushing Calgary's season to the brink.
"They've all been important here the last who knows how long," he said. "It makes it easy for myself to get up for this game, and you just try to go out there and fit right in."
In order to accommodate Sarich, the club had to return defenseman Clay Wilson to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League. Wilson was up on an emergency basis to fill in for Sarich.
Here's the projected lineup tonight for the Flames:
Alex Tanguay - Michael Cammalleri - Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - David Moss
Lee Stempniak - Matt Stajan - Blake Comeau
Tom Kostopoulos - Blair Jones - Tim Jackman
Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
Anton Babchuk - Cory Sarich