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Morning Skate Report: Calgary Flames - Game 3

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

NEW LOOK ON THE BLUELINE

Four days since taking part in his first full practice with the team, defenceman Raphael Diaz has been given the green light from the Flames training staff and will join the lineup tonight.

"I'm in the lineup and really excited for that," Diaz grinned. "I think it was good that I had two more practices the other day. I feel good."

Diaz, who has been sidelined with a lower body injury since Apr. 2, wants to stick to the basics as he gets re-acclimatized to the pace of the game.

"Go back, get a good first pass, try to join the rush and have some good shots from the blueline. This is what I'm looking for, to keep it simple."

The addition of the 29-year-old will give the Flames more options when it comes to special teams and Diaz will able to handle some of the minutes doled out to the Flames top two pairings, who have been logging most of the minutes in the postseason.

"Raffi can give us some power play time, can give us some solid play in our zone, first pass out out of the zone and always great, great shot," Bob Hartley said. "He's a veteran. He's played in this league before. It's good news."

Prior to going down with his injury, Diaz had been paired up with David Schlemko -- giving the Flames another left-right pairing that they covet -- and they will skate alongside one another this evening.

Michael Ferland, who is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, may also return to the lineup this evening. The rookie was held out of Game 2 on Sunday but took part in today's morning skate, practicing with his regular linemates, Matt Stajan and David Jones.

The team will continue to evaluate the winger throughout the day and make a game-time decision this evening.

"If I'm in I want to get a spark going here and feed off our fans," Ferland said. "They're going to be unreal and it's easy to feed off them for sure."

If Ferland is unable to go, the Flames have a few options up front: Drew Shore, David Wolf, and Markus Granlund are available to play and have gotten into at least one playoff game each.

GENERATING OFFENCE

The Flames have been stymied by Anaheim's Frederik Andersen, scoring just one goal against him in the first two games of the series.

The Ducks have done a very good job at keeping the Flames to the perimeter when they have gotten into the zone, blocked shots, and have been able to clear out most rebounds in front of their netminder.

The Flames know they will have to do more around the net if they want to get back into the series.

"I think we've got to get pucks in deep," Johnny Gaudreau stated. "Get on their [defence] a little bit harder, try to create little plays in the offensive zone to get it up to the point and get shots through."

As per NHL.com correspondent Kevin Woodley, Andersen allowed 24 percent of his regular season goals on rebounds, something which the Flames want to exploit more in the series.

"That’s just a matter of will," David Jones said of corralling rebounds. "You’ve just got to try and find a way. Sometimes you’re there and it’ll bounce one way or another and it’s a little unfortunate luck wise, but we’ve got to make our own luck. Just keep doing what we are doing and getting pucks to the blue paint."

The Flames top line had a slow start to the opening round series against the Vancouver Canucks but came up big when it mattered the most, combining for 10 points in the series-clinching Game 6 win.

After splitting up the trio in Game 2 in hopes of generating more offence from all four lines, Hartley had the three skating together in this morning's line rushes.

If they are able to play like they have throughout the season, they could significantly bolster the Flames offence.

"It's always fun playing with Huds and Mony obviously," Gaudreau said. "We didn't work out last game but hopefully we can get something going tonight."

QUOTABLE

"In terms of minutes, we don't care. We're only playing next Friday. Minutes are not important. If I was working with bombs, maybe minutes and seconds would be important but in a game, I don't care about minutes." - Bob Hartley on leaning on his top three defencemen throughout games

BROADCAST INFO

Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Ducks will be broadcast on Sportsnet (TV) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio). Game time is 7:30 PM MT.

The Calgary Flames official Twitter account (@NHLFlames) will be live-tweeting the game and providing pre and post-game content. Fans can also follow along on the Flames official Instagram account (@NHLFlames) for exclusive, behind-the-scenes content.

The Calgary Flames official app is another way to follow along with the action, with goal and period summary notifications. The app is free and available to download on iTunes and Google Play.

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