ANAHEIM - The Jaromir Jagr Watch continues.
Head coach Glen Gulutzan has confirmed the veteran forward will not play this evening in Anaheim but he has a plan in place as to when Jagr will make his Flames debut.
"He's not going tonight," Gulutzan stated after his team's lively morning skate at the Honda Center. "Jags and I have … a definitive plan in place as to when he's going to come in.
"For me, he looks really good right now. He's starting to get up to speed. But now, we can all say in practice 'He looks good, he looks good, he looks good,' but there's a level to this player and I can see he's getting to it.
"So, we have a plan in place for Jags, he's not going tonight, and we'll let you know on the plan some other time."
In Jagr's absence, Gulutzan will roll out the lines he utilized in the second half of the Flames' 6-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
With his team down by a pair of goals after the opening period, the bench boss tinkered with two of his trios in hopes of sparking some offence: Johnny Gaudreau and Curtis Lazar flanked Sam Bennett while Sean Monahan centered Kris Versteeg and Micheal Ferland.
The moves paid off, with the Flames scoring five unanswered goals in the victory.
"We thought we finished good, where we left off," Gulutzan stated. "It doesn't mean it's going to stay the same (all game) - I'll just see how it goes, play, play it by ear, and see if we can generate that same type of energy."
The Gaudreau-Bennett-Lazar line was key in getting the ball rolling in the back half of the game and ended up combining for four points from the 8:42 mark of the second period onwards.
"Obviously we were a little flat there in the first period, made some adjustments," Lazar assessed. "I think playing with (Bennett) and getting Johnny on our line, we just clicked. It was a relentless attack, shift by shift. It was good - we got the ball rolling and it was kind of a domino effect. It spread throughout our lineup."
Saturday marked Lazar's season debut and the 22-year-old did not disappoint. He picked up one assist, put two shots on net and put in 11:07 of ice time in the win. His possession numbers were strong as well, with Hockey Stats tracking his even-strength Corsi-For percentage at 73.91.
"It's good to do it one night but following it up is another story. That's my challenge tonight," Lazar said.
"I was able to seize that opportunity."
Mike Smith will get the nod in net this evening. The 35-year-old has had a great start to the year, allowing just five goals on 72 shots and posting a .931 save percentage.
"I feel like I've played pretty solid so far but I do understand from playing so long that every game is different. The two games that I've played are over and done with and as far as I'm concerned, in the past. You just have look forward to your next game and tonight will be another tough test for us."
Thanks to his six years in Arizona, Smith has plenty of experience playing in Anaheim and has compiled a 12-8-3 record against the Ducks. He is aware of the Flames' regular season losing streak in Orange County, dating back to Jan. 19, 2004, but isn't dwelling on that heading into tonight's contest.
"For me as a goalie, it's just being solid back there for the team. I know what's happened in the past for this team against Anaheim and … they brought in guys like me, (Hamonic) and some new guys to try and boost the team a little bit. But I could care less about any streaks that have happened in the past.
"Every year is different. Every game is different. Tonight will be a tough test for our group but coming out of our last game, the win, we're feeling confident … I think we're up for the challenge."
Tonight's game starts at 8:00 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on Sportsnet Flames (TV) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio).