BACK IN THE LINEUP?
Defenceman Mark Giordano has been practicing with the team for several days and there is good chance the 28 year-old will suit up tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.
While head coach Brent Sutter cautioned Giordano would be a game-time decision, the defenceman admitted he was itching to get back into the lineup.
"I feel good," he smiled. "I'm going to get in there for warm-up and from what the coaches said yesterday and today, it's a game-time decision.
"But right now, so far, so good. I haven't had any setbacks so I'm looking forward to getting into the game."
Over the past three weeks, Giordano has been pain-free and he's spent that time trying to get himsel back into game shape.
"It's just a matter of getting back to that game type speed and getting my strength back."
Giordano was sidelined on Nov. 29, 2011 during a game against the Nashville Predators. The blueliner dropped to block a shot and suffered partially ruptured tendons in his left leg. He has missed 21 games due to the malady.
In his first 23 games this year, Giordano has notched four goals and eight points.
Tonight marks the first of 20 games against clubs in the Pacific Division and the Flames know if they fail to collect a good number of points against these opponents, their chances at playing in the postseason are slim.
"It's a strong division," Cory Sarich conceded. "We're going to have to be ready for every game that comes our way.
"We're kind of surrounded by a few of those teams too. There are guys that are just ahead of us and just behind us in the standings. They're going to be crucial points."
While the Ducks have struggled mightly this season and currently sit in 14th place in the Western Conference with 32 points, they have been playing well as of late. Anaheim has won three straight games and have scored 16 goals during that run.
"They have a very good hockey team," Sutter said in his post-practice address. "That's our preparation - we're playing a good team. Forget about the standings."
While he knows it sounds simplistic, Sarich stressed the importance of keeping the puck out of their end. The Ducks have some incredibly talented forwards and it is hard to keep them at bay once they've entered into the other club's zone.
"When we play in the opponent's zone, we're a pretty good team," he said. "We can cause some grief off the cycle. But if we don't get the puck where it needs to be, like in their zone, it makes for a tough task for us so we've got to be good and make sure we hang on to it."