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Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Rangers

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames



KARLSSON STARTING

Henrik Karlsson will make his second start of the season for the Flames tonight.

Brent Sutter has confidence in Miikka Kiprusoff's backup.

"His first game we were'nt very good in front of him," Sutter said. "We played a 20-minute game that night. We didn't play as well as we needed to in St. Louis."

"I'm not putting any extra pressure on him, he just needs to be good for us and make the saves"

The 6'6" Swede comes into tonight's contest after giving up 5 goals in St. Louis last week.

SECOND LINE COMING ON STRONG

There is absolutely no question that the Flames best line this season has been the trio of Curtis Glencross, Olli Jokinen and Lee Stempniak. The three have combined for 11 points in five games but haven't shirked away from their responsibilities in their own end.

Head coach Brent Sutter hasn't hesitated to thrown the line out against the top players in the League, knowing their first priority is ensuring they limit the opposition's offensive chances.

"We have a pretty important role that the coach gave us," Jokinen said. "For us, we try to play really good defence against other teams top lines. We all think defence first. I think that's been helping us to create some offensive chances. We're all on the same page."

The elder statesman of the group, Jokinen has played with a variety of linemates over the course of his 965-game career but feels the two wingers flanking him are among the best he's suited up with.

During his time in Florida, where he notched a career-high 39 goals in the 2006-07 campaign, he played alongside Gary Roberts and sees some parallels between him and one of his current linemates.

"Glenny, he's a very similar player," Jokinen said. "Straight lines guy who goes to the corners and likes to get involved, plays physical. You know when you dump the puck into the corner, nine out of ten times he comes out of it.

"It's easy to play with a guy like that."

He has only played five games with Stempniak but the winger has meshed seamlessly with the two veteran Flames. Jokinen credits the West Seneca, NY native's versatility and hockey sense for his quick transition.

"Very smart, good two-way player who once he gets hot, he can definitely score. He's a guy we expect to score 20-plus goals. He works hard too. He's a little bit smaller than a lot of other guys but he definitely gets involved."

CONTINUING WITH THE NEVER-QUIT ATTITUDE

On Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oilers held a lead over the Flames until the final 6:00 of the game. Calgary was absolutely determined to find the equalizer, no matter how little time was left on the clock, and it paid off.

Jay Bouwmeester tied it up at 14:03 of the third period and just 89 seconds later, Alex Tanguay smacked home the go-ahead goal.

"There was no quit from anybody," Sutter said afterwards. "There was still lots of things you like to see on a bench in a game and the guys felt they could still pull it out throughout the whole thing and they stayed with it. It’s a credit to them."

The team knows it must stick with that mindset if they want to find themselves playing in the postseason. Tanguay admitted the win over the Oilers was "ugly" but adjectives aren't important: points are.

"A win’s a win. At the end of the year, you guys will be just like us - looking at the amount of wins we got and if it’s enough to get us into the playoffs."

QUOTABLE

"I feel good. I feel that when I get back, I'm probably going to be more fitter than I was before camp." - Mikael Backlund on his training regimen while he's on the injured reserve with a broken finger


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