Backs is back.
After missing yesterday's practice - skating solo earlier in the morning - Mikael Backlund was back with his teammates on Wednesday. Flames general manager Brad Treliving noted his absence on Tuesday was precautionary and the team expected him ready for Thursday's season-opener in Denver. The forward had left Saturday's pre-season finale against the Oilers with a lower-body injury.
"We'll get him looked at here, right now, and go from there," said head coach Bill Peters when asked about Backlund's availability for tomorrow's opener. "I think he's real close, but we've got to be smart, too."
If Backlund is unable to play, Sam Bennett will move into the middle and Tobi Rieder will draw in.
"It's an easy little switch, we know what we're going to do if he can't go, so it's not like it'll be a last-minute decision," said Peters.
With Backlund back in the fold, here are the lines, pairings, and powerplay units from today's skate:
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Elias Lindholm
Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik
Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Sam Bennett
Andrew Mangiapane - Mark Jankowski - Austin Czarnik
Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie
Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic
Oliver Kylington - Rasmus Andersson
Elias Lindhom - Sean Monahan - Johnny Gaudreau
Milan Lucic - Mikael Backlund - Austin Czarnik
TJ Brodie - Rasmus Andersson