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FLAMES READY FOR BOUNCE-BACK GAME

After a rough start to their homestand, the Flames are aiming to rebound with a strong effort against the Flyers

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

After a rough start to the week, the Flames are looking to get themselves back on track in a game that could vault them back into a playoff spot.

With the Los Angeles Kings (28-23-4, 60 points) idle this evening, a victory over the Philadelphia Flyers would push the Flames (28-26-3, 59 points) into the second Western Conference Wildcard position.

While the Flames stumbled in Monday's match-up against the Arizona Coyotes, being shutout 5-0, they have played well in recent games, going 3-2-0 in their last five skates.

"It's huge," Dougie Hamilton said of tonight's contest. "(We're) trying to get back to where we were before the break, when we were winning lots of games and playing well. We didn't do that last game so just try to find that today, get back into a groove and try to keep getting points."

Philadelphia (27-22-7, 61 points) is in a similar predicament, sitting two points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs (26-18-11, 63 points), who hold the second Eastern Conference Wildcard spot. Unlike the Flames, however, the Flyers will have the Leafs pushing to gain more ground this evening in their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Given the Flyers' situation, the Flames are anticipating a playoff-like contest tonight.

"It should be a real hard-fought game," head coach Glen Gulutzan noted. "I know when we were in Philly ... we thought they played real hard against us. They were real physical. I thought they were a fast team. We've got to be ready for that tonight. But I expect the two teams to be fighting for their lives tonight."

After Monday's setback, Gulutzan put his charges through a fast-paced, lengthy skate on Tuesday and several players elected to take part in this morning's optional skate. Observing his team's response to the loss over the past two days has Gulutzan optimistic about the mindset heading into this evening's battle.

"I see focused and really wanting a bounce-back game. You could sense the intensity this morning and yesterday's practice, you could feel the intensity. We were sharp yesterday and we need to be sharp tonight at 7:30."

NOTES: Lance Bouma will be back in the lineup after missing the last two games as a healthy scratch ... Garnet Hathaway, Freddie Hamilton and Jyrki Jokipakka will be this evening's healthy scratches ... Sean Monahan is one goal away from hitting 100 in his career. He leads the 2013 NHL Draft class in goals (99) and points (194) ... Calgary has a 10-11-1-0 record versus the Eastern Conference this season and they are 3-7-1-0 against the Metropolitan Division ... Mikael Backlund had his point streak snapped in Monday's loss to the Coyotes, but is still on pace for career highs in goals, assists and points. The 27-year-old leads the club with 38 points this season and he has amassed 22 of those over the last 22 games.

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