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Team excited about potential of new trio of Johnny, Mony and Jagr

by ARI YANOVER @NHLFlames / calgaryflames.com

When the puck drops tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes, Jaromir Jagr will start on a line with young standouts Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.

The trio has already played as a line at times - and notched a goal as Gaudreau lit the lamp in Saturday's win over Vancouver - but this is the first time they've begun a game together (7 p.m., Carolina Hurricanes, TV: SportsnetFlames, Radio: Sportsnet906 The FAN).

Playing with players half his age isn't new for Jagr, as he proved he could form a productive line with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau down in Florida with the Panthers the last two seasons.

"Well, you know, there's so many young players in the league, lot of skill, lot of speed," Jagr said. "It's not exactly the game I played 20 years ago, but the game has changed. If you want to play in this league you kind of have to adjust.

"(Gaudreau and Monahan are) both very skilled and able to score a lot of goals on the rush."

Coach Glen Gulutzan believes there's a fit for Jagr with his own two young offensive studs, subscribing to the philosophy of keeping skilled players with skilled players.

"That's a strength of his, right," Gulutzan said, referring to Jagr's play along the boards. "Not only can he hold pucks in there, he can make plays. I think it's pretty well known that below the top of the circles there you still have an elite player in this league.

"Johnny and Mony can certainly benefit from just the way he likes to bring guys close to him and play a little bit of a two-on-one game. I think it'll help them in the offensive zone. I think they're elite guys off the rush and off broken plays, but we're hoping that this adds to their overall game, and gives them some extra looks in the offensive zone."

Monahan, too, thinks his style of play will mesh with the legendary forward, and is excited to put all of the chemistry they've worked on developing over three straight days of practice to the test.

"When he has the puck and he's protecting the puck it's not easy to get it off him," Monahan said. "So we gotta get the puck, and we gotta have a good forecheck to be able to get the puck, and when we have the puck in their zone we gotta be able to make plays and move it around.

"When he has the puck it slows everything down. I mean, he puts guys in their spots where they don't want to be and I mean, if you get open, you're probably going to get a good look.

"I think he's a great payer and just looking forward to get out there with him."

 

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