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Lower body injury sidelines Hudler

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- Calgary Flames forward Jiri Hudler was noticeable by his absence in the third period of a dominant 4-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, a precautionary measure because of a lower body injury.

That absence continued in practice Monday.

“The medical staff informed me that we don’t know yet but obviously he’s going to get some tests today and definitely not in the lineup tomorrow,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. “Hopefully it’s minor and it’s not too long.”

Hudler finished Saturday’s game with just 5:26 of ice. His last shift ended with 5:15 remaining in the second period.

“He had it the game before a little bit and its lower body,” Hartley said. “Those situations sometimes there’s one spot that you can really say this is exactly where it happened. From there it just kind of turned into a slow progression and got to a point where he couldn’t go anymore.”

Hudler led Calgary with 45 assists and 76 points last season, and his 31 goals were tied for the most on the Flames with linemate Sean Monahan.

He has five goals and 20 points in 35 games this season.

“I think as a group we’ve done a good job of stepping up and it’s an opportunity for someone else,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. “Obviously you don’t want to see guys go down and guys who are top producers on our team but I think it opens the door for someone else.”

Mason Raymond will get the first crack.

He’s expected to draw into the lineup and play alongside rookie Sam Bennett and Markus Granlund when Calgary hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

“When you lose one of your best veterans and one of your best leaders…we all know what Jiri means to this hockey club,” Hartley said. “I felt that the guys regrouped really well. We were down to three right wingers and they picked up the slack. It was something we talked about in between periods, [Hudler] is out so let’s make sure we step up in his absence and the guys deserve lots of credit.”

FERLAND’S STRIDE

A number of players stepped up in Hudler’s absence Saturday. Among them were left wing Micheal Ferland.

Ferland had one assist, six shots and two hits in 14:36 of ice time, and was named the game’s third star.

“For the last few games I really like Ferly’s consistency,” Hartley said. “He’s skating well, he’s a force, he’s first on the forecheck. Look at his net presence. He’s doing an awesome job in front of the net. He’s a young player and the way that he’s skating he’s creating a lot and the other team notices when he’s on the ice.”

After three points in his first 25 games to start the season, Ferland has three points -- all assists -- in his past five games.

“The one thing about Ferly is he wants to please everyone,” Hartley said. “He has a heart of gold, he’s a great young man and he has great expectations of himself. Sometimes he put so many high expectations that when he doesn’t meet them it’s always his fault. That’s one thing that he has to learn and put the bad things behind you and forget about them and that’s what he’s doing.

“He’s a great young man to deal with. He’s fun, he’s a great student and he wants to learn. Defensively he’s learned a lot and offensively he is using his size, his speed. This guy can fly, he’s a great skater and when he’s using his size and strength to go to the net there’s not many defenceman in this league that can stop him.”

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