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Calgary's projected forward lines, D pairs and starting goaltender

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick /

Cam Talbot will get the start in goal tonight when the Flames host the LA Kings in the finale of a three-game homestand (8 p.m. MT; CBC/Sportsnet, Sportsnet 960 THE FAN).

"I try to prepare the same way, whether I'm playing or not playing (because) you never know when you're going to get thrown into a game," Talbot said. "I've been trying to stay ready over the last few weeks, and ready for my opportunity."

Talbot, who's last appearance came way back on Nov. 17, has a 1-5-0 record, an .893 save percentage and a 3.23 goals-against average.

With David Rittich playing as well as he has - and is tied with Carey Price for the league lead with 24 starts - Talbot has had to be patient as he awaited his next opportunity.

"Just try to get as much work in as possible," he said. "When you're not 'The Guy,' you've got to keep your endurance up, keep your power up, so I've spent a lot of time in the gym, a lot of extra time on the ice with the guys. You can never replicate a game in practice, but you have to do your best, because once the game pace comes, it comes at you quick and you've got to be ready for it."


Video: "I've spent a lot of time in the gym."


The Flames held an optional morning skate, meaning we'll have wait closer to game time to get a sense of any (other) lineup changes.

"We're talking to talk about that," said interim head coach Geoff Ward. "We've got a few options that we can go to right now, but once we get off the ice we'll finalize it.

"Right now it's up in the air."

For reference, here are the forward line combinations and D pairs used at Friday's practice:



Matthew Tkachuk - Elias Lindholm - Andrew Mangiapane
Sean Monahan - Mikael Backlund - Dillon Dube
Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Johnny Gaudreau
Tobias Rieder - Mark Jankowski - Michael Frolik



Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie
Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic
Oliver Kylington - Rasmus Andersson



Cam Talbot
David Rittich

With a new coach at the helm, might we see a new plan for how the goalies are used moving forward?

"I don't know what the philosophy was beforehand, so I can't comment on whether or not my philosophy is different," Ward said. "We feel like we've got two good goaltenders and we feel that in order to be good come playoff time - and for us, right now, our playoffs are going to start a lot sooner than everybody else's, because we've got to get back in the race. In order to do that, we need to have energy at the goaltending position like anywhere else.

"We feel like we need to have two goaltenders for us to be successful moving forward."

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