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LAZAR TO TAKE TOUR ON THE TOP LINE

The winger will skate alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan this evening

by ARI YANOVER @NHLFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

Talk about a heckuva way to return to the lineup.

After sitting out in the Flames' overtime victory against the L.A. Kings, the young forward will be skating on a line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan when they take on the Ottawa Senators Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome (7 p.m., TV: Sportsnet, Radio: Sportsnet960 The FAN).

"I think we're going to be able to complement each other very well," Lazar said of his newest assignment. "Nothing changes in my game."

Coach Glen Gulutzan has shuffled the lines ahead of the Ottawa tilt, putting trust in Lazar to play a bigger role, while Micheal Ferland slots in alongside Matt Stajan and Troy Brouwer.

Gulutzan believes Lazar can bring quickness and energy to the top line.

"The speed and in on the forecheck, right, which really helps," Gulutzan said. "He has the ability to play centre, too, taking faceoffs on that other side. 

"But for me, that big thing is he'll go to the net. He'll get in on the forecheck. And really that helps both those guys and he has those abilities so he's going to have to do that tonight."

Lazar has played two games so far this season, and presently leads the Flames with a 54.17% Corsi-for, according to Corsica.hockey. He has one point, registering an assist on Gaudreau's only goal of the season thus far.

"If you go back to the Winnipeg game, (Lazar) played with Johnny and they had some success," Gulutzan said. "So he gets an opportunity to come in there and provide them with some energy."

It will also be Lazar's first game against his old team.

"Obviously there's a little bit of the personal aspect," Lazar said. "The motivation, it's quite high today. It's a little bit of a weird feeling, just coming here in the rink … My old organization is in the house. I've got a lot of friends on the other side.

"It's another game, but it's not. And I'm not really trying to hype it up or anything. I'm going to go out there and play. I know the opposition, I know their game plan and systems pretty well and all that, so just go out there and do my thing. I gotta take care of myself out here. I'm a member of the Calgary Flames now."

Lazar was dealt to the Flames at last season's trade deadline. Though he played just four games with them in 2016-17, he acknowledged the move was huge for him.

"I got that extra jump in my step," Lazar said. "And I know I didn't get in the lineup right away coming here to Calgary but I was enjoying hockey again, and I think that's the biggest thing.

"I'm happy, I'm having fun, I'm energetic in the dressing room, and I kind of got away from that in Ottawa. So to come here, get a good start, have the trust and the belief from the entire organization, from management and the coaching staff to my teammates, it spoke volumes. And I'm in a place to succeed here."

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