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FLAMES READY FOR STRETCH DRIVE SPRINT

Starting on Thursday, the Flames are set to play every second day until the end of the regular season

by AARON VICKERS @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

The season is a marathon.

But the final 16 games are going to feel more like a sprint to the Flames.

They sit comfortably in the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, will play every second day from here on out.

Game day. Off. Game day. Off.

All for the final 31 days of the regular season.

"I think it's a good thing," forward Michael Frolik said. "You can get your rhythm. We'll see what we're going to do, whether we're going to practice the day before or no morning skate … we'll see how it's going to go. I don't mind playing every other day. It keeps you in the rhythm.

"I don't mind it at all to have a day between and keep playing the games. I think it's good. You just try to work on what you need. You do what you need to do to be ready for the games.

"Hopefully it's good for us. I think the schedule is pretty good. It seems like playing in the playoffs. Could be good preparation for that, hopefully."

Video: Frolik looking forward to busy schedule ahead

Defenceman Michael Stone would welcome Frolik's notion.

"I haven't been in this kind of playoff push in the last little bit so I'm looking forward to that," said Stone, who was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in February.

"It's the same thing. Every team is doing the same thing at the end of the year when the schedule gets so jam-packed. You try to get as much rest as you can and take care of your body. It starts with treatment and nutrition and all that stuff.

"You do whatever you can to make sure you've got full energy and full go come game time."

The days of back-to-back practice days are done.

The Flames, who managed to sneak in a day off prior to practicing on Tuesday and Wednesday, will not get that luxury again over the course of their regular season schedule.

That in itself is a challenge for coach Glen Gulutzan.

"We're going to have to do it by feel … just looking at the energy of our team," Gulutzan said. "At some points we're going to have to practice between days. At some points we won't. We're just hoping we can get into a little rhythm. It's easier if you get in a winning rhythm to do what you do.

"But it's going to be feel. It's going to be feel. You can't go the whole month without practicing in the middle.

'We'll try to navigate through that."

That navigation starts when Calgary hosts the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday (7 p.m. MT; SNW, SN960).

The game kicks off a run that'll leave little time for rest.

"I like it," Stone said.

"I think you can see both sides of it. One day you might say, 'hey I could use a couple days between here,' but if you can get in that rhythm and you're feeling good about the way you're playing you want to keep going.

"[But] ask me in a week … it's that kind of thing."

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