CALGARY - After sitting out of Saturday's game as a healthy scratch, defenceman Brett Kulak will be back in the lineup this evening.
"I think with a good skating team, it's a good game for Brett. He's a great skater, he's been moving the puck really well. I thought he's played strong, the last couple games before we took him out. I thought we just had to go over a few things with him," head coach Glen Gulutzan explained.
"He'll play in tonight, I think it's a good game for him."
While he wasn't overly pleased with having to take in the final game of the Flames' lengthy road swing as a spectator, he took the decision in stride and sees the move as a positive for long-term success.
"I think it's good for me," he acknowledged. "Take a step back for a second, take a day and I can watch the game from a different perspective.
"There's lots I can learn that way, sitting out a game. Obviously it was disappointing for myself, I want to play in every single game, but I can definitely take some positives out of what happened.
"I think the message for me is I need stability in my game. I've got to be able to bring it and be a top NHLer every single night. That's what I expect out myself and they expect that from me. That's the goal I'm working towards. I just have to take it day by day and do the things I can to keep improving."
He'll be back with his usual partner, Michael Stone, this evening when the Flames take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The youthful, offensively-charged Toronto lineup has caused issues for defencemen throughout the season thanks to the likes of Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Nazem Kadri, and Mitch Marner but Kulak feels ready for the challenge.
"Tonight I'm expecting them to have a lot of speed, a lot of skill. They like puck possession so I've got to play hard defensively and separate the guy from the puck. I think there's a lot of things I can build off in my game, from the games I've played this year, and a lot of things I want to change coming into tonight.
"I'll just gradually work on tweaking a few things. I'm looking forward to getting back into the lineup."