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JOHNSON GETS THE START IN SUNRISE

The goaltender is set to make his 33rd start of the season when the Flames take on the Panthers

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

Ealier this year, Glen Gulutzan had been going with a 'win and you're in' strategy in net but with the team playing a handful of games over a short period of time, he'll be giving Brian Elliott the night off this evening in Sunrise.

Chad Johnson will get his 33rd start of the year when the Flames take on the Florida Panthers at 5:30 PM MT (SNW, SN960) and is looking forward to getting the opportunity to help his team push to extend their winning streak.

"The team's kind of a on a little bit of a roll here and for myself, I'm excited to get back in there and keep things going."

Elliott, who made 23 saves in last night's 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, has gotten into a groove as of late. In his last eight games, he has gone 6-1-1 and the veteran netminder has started six of Calgary's last seven road games, going 4-1-1 in that stretch.

With Elliott getting the bulk of starts in recent weeks, Johnson has focused on ensuring he's ready to go whenever he's called upon.

"For myself, I prepare every day as if I'm playing. I can only control what I can control as a goalie. The situation we're obviously in here, we need to get wins and the hot hand will play. Ells' is obviously hot right now and he deserves to get on a bit of a roll. For myself, you wait it out and when I get my opportunity, just try and help the team win. That's hockey."

Johnson comes in at a time that not just Elliott is on a roll but the entire team as well. The Flames are 3-0-1 in their last four games and are pushing to surpass Nashville for the first Wildcard spot in the West. They have found another gear as the stretch drive wears on, finding ways to win no matter what the situation.

Video: Johnson ready for his turn during Flames streak

"We just don't have any quit right now. We're going out there, trusting our systems ... in high scoring games or low scoring games, we fight to the very end," Johnson explained. "I think you can see that in guys and the way we're playing. 

"That's a learning curve and things we've grown from early in the season. I think you saw that with the highs and lows through periods and a little bit of maybe quit there. And now, there's no quit there. I think we believe we can outscore teams, out-defend teams and I think you can see that. Again for us, it's that consistency and bringing it every night."

Johnson was in net for the Flames first game against the Panthers this season, a 5-2 win on Jan. 17 in Calgary. He made 20 saves in that victory and knows exactly what he'll be facing this evening at the BB&T Center.

"Just high-powered, very offensive team. They're a really well-skilled, well-coached team. They have good defence, good goaltending and players that can put the puck in the net. For us, it's just playing hard and playing our game. That's really what it comes down to."

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