CALGARY - Glen Gulutzan is shaking things up.
The Flames head coach is sitting centre Sam Bennett as a healthy scratch this evening when the Nashville Predators make a stop at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Bennett has been scoreless in his last 10 games and hasn't recorded an assist in his last 19 games. He has been held to nine goals and 18 points through 47 skates.
"I just felt that he hasn't been going the way he's wanted to go," Gulutzan explained. "The last couple of games … I thought in Edmonton, he worked real hard. I thought the last game he wasn't where he needed to be and we're at the time of the year that we need guys to be going.
"He's 20 years old. Sometimes guys just need a break to sit and watch the game and they come back a lot better. We've been working with Sam the last three, four weeks, trying to get his game back in order. Sometimes it's good for a young guy - a 20-year-old - to sit and watch a game, get a little bit of a break."
With Bennett out of the lineup, Matt Stajan will move up to center Johnny Gaudreau and Alex Chiasson.
Freddie Hamilton will remain in the lineup, playing in between Lance Bouma and a returning Micheal Ferland. The winger has been cleared to play after missing the past three games with a lower body injury.
The Flames' top two lines will remain the same; Sean Monahan will be flanked by Kris Versteeg and Troy Brouwer while Mikael Backlund will anchor Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Frolik.
On defence, the Flames will stick with their regular pairings.
Goaltender Chad Johnson will make his second consecutive start in net this evening. He backstopped the Flames to a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, making 20 saves on 22 shots.
In 27 games, Johnson holds a 16-10-1 record with a 2.24 GAA and a .923 save percentage.
"I feel good about my game. You want to put your team in a position to win hockey games," he said after this morning's optional skate. "As a goalie, you're so influenced by how the team plays and I think we're playing well."