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Notes ahead of tonight's Flames vs. Penguins match-up in Pittsburgh

by TY PILSON @typilson /


The Flames have won back-to-back games against the Pens after a lengthy losing streak to the club. They beat them 4-2 in Pittsburgh last year, breaking a four-game game losing skid at PPG Paints Arena. This is the first meeting between the two clubs this season.


The Flames were one of just three teams (the others being the Bruins and Stars) that the Penguins failed to earn a point against during the 2015-16 season.


"I think he's a really bright hockey mind," said Pens coach Mike Sullivan, who coached with Flames bench boss Glen Gulutzan in Vancouver. "I think he's a progressive thinker, I think he's a real good communicator and he doesn't take himself too seriously so we get along very well. With all seriousness, he's a real bright hockey mind, he's a very good coach and I think he's one of the more progressive thinkers that I've been around in the game."

When asked to elaborate on the progressive comment:

"Thinking outside the box, trying to create ways to gain competitive advantages for your team, whether it be tactically or otherwise," Sullivan answered. "I think this game is constantly evolving so it's important as coaches that we try to evolve with it. We're all constantly trying to steal each other's best practices and think of ways where we can create competitive advantages for our teams. And the time I spent with Gully and that staff I always relished the hockey talk. And there was a fair amount of it that went on. I know those conversations certainly helped me be a better coach."


"He's obviously a very good player," said Sullivan. "He's elusive in tight space, I think our sticks have to be really active, I think we have to try and take his time and space as best we can. I think our awareness away from him is really important because he has the ability to find people, so not only do we have to get the job done on him when he has the puck, the people away from the puck I think are every bit as important in making sure they recognize where the threats are and take his receivers away. But he's obviously a real talented guy and we're going to have to pay attention when he's on the ice."


Monahan needs one goal to reach 100 career tallies

Alex Chiasson needs three points for 100 on his career

Michael Frolik needs three points to reach 300

NOTABLE: The Flames have a 9-11-1-0 record against the Eastern Conference this season and are 2-7-1-0 against the mighty Metropolitan Division … Calgary has put the power back in their power play. They have scored nine PP goals in their last nine games, the latest courtesy of Dougie Hamilton in the team's 4-3 loss to the Rangers at MSG Sunday … Following tonight's tilt, the Flames will have a five-day bye week that runs Feb. 8-12. The time off was CBA mandated given the players participation in the World Cup of Hockey back in September … Sean Monahan when asked about kicking it up a notch when you go against superstars such as Sidney Crosby: "Obviously when you play special players like that it sometimes it'll help you raise your level." … The Penguins will host a You Can Play night tonight, with both the Flames and Pens using rainbow coloured stick tape in warmup. You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The Flames will have their You Can Play Night on Feb. 28. 

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