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Backlund, Frolik to play in Sunday's game vs. Jets

Both forwards will make their pre-season debut when the Flames host the Jets

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Mikael Backlund is getting back to work.

Backlund, who hasn't played since sustaining a concussion on Sept. 20 while representing Team Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, will return to the lineup and play his first pre-season game when the Calgary Flames host the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday.

"I've been feeling good now for almost a week," Backlund said. "I've been skating. It's my fourth day skating. I feel good."

Backlund sustained the injury after taking a high hit from defenceman Sami Lepisto in Team Sweden's 2-0 round-robin win against Team Finland. He is expected to skate on a line with winger Michael Frolik.

Frolik, who represented Team Czech Republic at the World Cup, will also be making his pre-season debut. 

"I told [Frolik] and [Backlund] today, when we were doing the first drill, holidays are over," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "It's time to get going." 

The pair spent much of the 2015-16 together.

Backlund set career-bests with 21 goals and 47 points while playing in 82 games last season, and Frolik had 15 goals and 32 points in 64 games in his first season with Calgary.

"I think it was just a natural click right away," Backlund said. "We both play a similar game … good, solid two-way game. We like to work hard. We play all situations. It just came naturally last year. He's a good guy, too, off the ice. He's easy to talk to.

"It just makes everything easy."

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Hopefuls looking to make most of chance with cuts com

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- No one needs to be reminded of the schedule.

The calendar, freshly turned to October, depicts the docket.

Twelve days before opening night.

Six practice days.

Three exhibition skates.

Few chances remaining to make an impact.

"It's real important because now the games, I think, are more and more NHL guys in lineups," Calgary Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "Now these games are going to be more NHL-type hockey games. Now it's important for those guys to show that they can play at this level. The PTO guys that have played at this level … now it's time to step up your game.

"It's time to go now.

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Plenty of positives in new Flames goaltenders

Jordan Sigalet is looking forward to seeing Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson in action this season

by George Johnson @GeorgejohnsonCH / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The dialogue began over the summer, at Brian Elliott's off-season digs in Madison, Wisconsin.

"Beautiful spot,'' reports Jordan Sigalet. "I flew down and spent a few days there.

"We'd talked a lot before that on the phone but to be able to sit down face-to-face was good, to get off to an early relationship.

"We just kind of chatted about his needs, my style of coaching, got a feel for each other and where we both saw this going.

"We had dinner. I watched him on the ice. Got some video.

"And Chad … being a local guy, I was able to hook up with him right away.

"So it was good."

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Ferland demonstrates unity in Flames win

by George Johnson @GeorgejohnsonCH / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- For obvious reasons, Matthew Tkachuk had the high-beams on Friday night.

Difficult to tell, though, which of two moments actually produced a higher wattage of blinding Pepsodent/game-show-host grin:

Alter prodding home his first (if unofficial) NHL goal, stationed in his customary rental district near the threshold of the net at 14:34 of the second period.

Or after Micheal Ferland, in a don't-mess-with-my-buddy mood, dropped pesky Canucks' centre Joseph Labate like a sack of wet grain in retribution for an iffy hit on the freshman winger minutes earlier.

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Trio shine in Flames' 2-1 win over Canucks

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The top line of the Calgary Flames scored both goals and combined for five points to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 in preseason action at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

Troy Brouwer had a goal and an assist, Sam Bennett had two assists and 18-year-old Matthew Tkachuk scored his first goal for the Flames (2-2-0). Guillaume Brisebois scored for the Canucks (1-1-1).

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Jankowski set for Scotiabank Saddledome debut

by Torie Peterson @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB - It has been over four years since Mark Jankowski heard his named called 21st overall at the 2012 NHL Draft and he has waited patiently for this moment ever since.

Tonight, he makes his Scotiabank Saddledome debut when the Flames host the Vancouver Canucks (7:00 PM MT; SN1, SN960).

"Ever since I was drafted, I wanted to play here at the 'Dome," he said after this morning's practice. "I've heard great things about the fans and everything so I'm really excited to get in tonight and hopefully perform and help the team get a win."

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Parsons ready for second shot at first game

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- A bug derailed Tyler Parsons' first attempt. It won't get the better of him in his second.

Illness kept the goaltender from suiting up with the Calgary Flames earlier in the week, but Parsons will get another go against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday (7:00 PM MT; SN1, SN960).

"It happens," said Parsons, who is expected to come on for starter Brian Elliott in a planned third-period relief appearance. 

"There's nothing you can do about it. Things happened. Everything happens for a reason.

"I'm getting a game tonight. I'm happy about that."

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Projected Lineup: Flames vs. Canucks

by Calgary Flames Staff / CalgaryFlames.com

FLAMES VS. CANUCKS - 7:00 PM MT - SPORTSNET ONE, SPORTSNET 960 THE FAN

The Calgary Flames pre-season continues tonight when the Vancouver Canucks make a stop at the Scotiabank Saddledome at 7:00 PM MT. Sportsnet One will carry the television broadcast while Sportsnet 960 The FAN will carry the radio broadcast.

Here is the Flames projected lineup for this evening's contest:

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Preview: Flames vs. Canucks

The two divisional rivals face off at 7:00 PM MT

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CANUCKS (1-0-1) @ FLAMES (1-2-0) 

TV: 7:00 PM MT; SN1, Sportsnet 960 The FAN 

Season series: The Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames are meeting for the first time this preseason. After losing both ends of a split-squad double-header against the Edmonton Oilers, the Flames beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 on Tuesday. The Canucks dispatched of the Oilers 5-3 on Wednesday after losing 3-2 in overtime a day prior to the San Jose Sharks. 

Canucks team scope: Vancouver's roster sits at 41 players after assigning goaltender Michael Garteig to Utica of the American Hockey League. Of those that remain with the Canucks, the likes of forwards Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Emerson Etem and Alexandre Burrows, and defencemen Erik Gudbranson and Christopher Tanev are expected to see action in Calgary. Goaltender Thatcher Demko, who saw the Flames at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, could also see some action against the Flames.

Flames team scope: Calgary has slimmed from three teams down to two after trimming their camp roster by 11 on Wednesday. Forwards Mikkell Aagard, Mike Angelidis, Matt Bailey, Jamie Devane, Brett Pollock, defencemen Stepan Falkovsky and Keegan Kanzig, and goaltender Mason McDonald were all assigned to Stockton of the AHL. Forwards Dillon Dube (Kelowna, WHL), Eetu Tuulola (Everett, WHL) and defenceman Riley Bruce (North Bay, OHL) were all returned to junior. Coach Glen Gulutzan didn't reveal who would be playing against the Canucks, but the group skating Thursday that includes the forward trio of Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett and Troy Brouwer are likely against Vancouver.  

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Ferland ready for next step of his career

by George Johnson @GeorgejohnsonCH / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The last, the only, worthwhile sample-size Glen Gulutzan has of Micheal Ferland can be traced back 16 months.

Gulutzan was then perched on the opposition bench, staring in equal parts admiration and disbelief as munitions expert Ferland gleefully set about blowing up cranky Kevin Bieksa on virtually every shift; drove all the Vancouver players either to distraction or through the woodwork while bundling the Canucks straight into the off-season.

"I thought in that series he played with just a ton of heart,'' says Gulutzan, a full season and one allegiance switch later. "I can tell you, the first game now that I've coached him, in Winnipeg (Tuesday) - guys knew he was out there.

"He was moving around and he was finishing checks.

"You talk about intimidation in this league. A lot of the fighting has gone out. We all know that. But … intimidation is becoming that guy who can fight but moreso can hit, get in on the forecheck and make people pay.

"That's new intimidation.

"And Ferly has that quality.

"I noticed it in the Winnipeg game and I noticed it in that series a year or so back."

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