LOS ANGELES - What a difference a day makes.
The Flames will be icing a vastly different lineup tonight compared to the roster that suited up for Sunday night's division and conference-clinching victory over the San Jose Sharks.
"I've got to get my sheet," head coach Bill Peters laughed when asked about the changes, before rattling off his lines and pairings for the evening.
In: Oscar Fantenberg, Oliver Kylington, Michael Stone, Juuso Valilmaki, Alan Quine, and Sam Bennett.
Out: Matthew Tkachuk, Mikael Backlund, Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, and Noah Hanifin.
Oh, and in net, it will be David Rittich, giving Mike Smith the night off after a big night in San Jose.
"There's going to be additional ice time for some guys, right?" Peters said of the changes.
"There's going to be lots of minutes for the Jankowski line - with Benny coming in, he hasn't played in five games, so we need to get him ready. We need to get that line some chemistry so they'll play lots. The Ryan line will play lots. We'll try to play everybody. We'll try not to overplay the Monahan line, we'd like to keep their minutes down to a manageable, reasonable number.
"On the backend, we'll roll the three sets. We're lefty-righty on all three sets, which we leaned in that direction here recently. I want to see all of those guys play ... it's important they get back out there and knock some rust off."
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Video: "It's tough to sit out and watch"
Tonight's game is particularly notable for two players: Bennett and Valimaki.
Bennett has missed the last five games with an upper-body injury he suffered on March 21 in the Flames' 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. He's worked hard to keep himself in game shape as he went through the recovery process and is eager to get back out there now that he has the green light from the training staff.
"It's always nice to get back in the lineup. It's tough to sit out and watch," he said following an optional skate at the Staples Center.
"It's never easy to sit out and watch your teammates go through the battle every night but definitely, when we're in the position that we are now with winning the West, it made it (a bit) easier.
"I feel great now and I'm excited for the game tonight."
Video: "I want to show what I'm all about"
For Valimaki, tonight's tilt marks his return to the NHL after suffering a lower-body injury early on this campaign.
After a lengthy recovery, the Flames sent the young defenceman to Stockton to get him back up to game speed and he has thrived with the Heat. In the 20 games he played there, he amassed four goals, 14 points, and took on a top-four role with the club.
That experience has him feeling confident as he heads into this evening's match-up, looking at it as an audition of sorts for the playoffs.
"It means everything," he said of getting the call-up this morning. "That's why I play, I want to play here. Especially at this time of the year, the best time in hockey is just around the corner.
"It's a big opportunity tonight, for sure ... I want to show what I'm all about. I'm feeling good with my game. I think the last couple of weeks down (in Stockton) have been really good so I have a lot of confidence and I'm just pumped to get out there.
"Every time I step on the ice now, it's a chance to show that I want to play, I want to be in the lineup every night, and it starts tonight."