LOS ANGELES - There's one significant change to the Flames lineup ahead of their tilt with the Kings.
Defenceman Alexander Yelesin - called up from Stockton on Monday given the injuries to blueliners Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic - will play his first NHL game tonight.
"What you're going to see about him is he plays extremely hard," said interim coach Geoff Ward. "He brings some aggressiveness to the game, he's not afraid to join the rush. We're not talking about a guy just coming out of junior here, he's a seasoned pro player. He's been here a couple times and not had the opportunity to play so I'm sure he's going to be anxious to get out there and finally get into a game at the NHL level.
"That'll be good, he's going to bring us a lot of energy."
Communication is still a bit of a challenge with the young Russian, but Ward is confident they can overcome that and make sure he knows exactly what's expected of him when he steps on the ice.
"I think his English is a lot better than it was at the beginning of the year, obviously we need to make sure he knows what the message is," he explained. "But in speaking with him, he understands a lot more than he did initially. But we're going to have to be aware of that, just to make sure he understands what we're requiring."
Not surprsingly, the 6-foot, 195-lb. Yelesin is amped for this opportunity.
"I work for this moment, I feel perfect," he said following the team's morning skate at the Staples Center. "I am happy, I should be ready. it's my chance."
His new D-partner is looking forward to playing with him.
"He's a great guy," said Oliver Kylington. "I don't know that much about him as a hockey player, he's a great guy, doesn't speak that much English, but he's a cool guy and a nice guy, you can see it in his eyes. I'm excited for him making his NHL debut, I'm going to be a good support for him out there."
Below are the lines, D-pairings and starting goalie for tonight's tilt:
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Elias Lindholm
Andrew Mangiapane - Mikael Backlund - Matthew Tkachuk
Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Dillon Dube
Zac Rinaldo - Mark Jankowski - Tobias Rieder
Noah Hanifin - Rasmus Andersson
TJ Brodie - Michael Stone
Oliver Kylington - Alexander Yelesin