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SAY WHAT: 'TONIGHT'S A BIG ONE'

A rundown of some of the key storylines entering tonight's New Year's tilt at the 'Dome

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

 

SAM BENNETT ON RETURNING TO LINEUP:

"Obviously I wasn't happy with the decision (to be scratched), so I think it's on me to prove people wrong and to show that I'm an important part here. I've got to prove that."

 

BENNETT ON HOW HE CAN DO THAT:

"You've got to be responsible defensively, but with how deep our team is, you've got to produce as well to stay in the lineup. Everyone's fighting for a job, for a spot, so it's a little bit of both."

 

Video: "I think I can provide some energy and some jump"

 

SEAN MONAHAN ON IMPORTANCE OF TONIGHT'S GAME:

"We want to rebound and come out tonight with a better effort than last game. Going down 3-0 on home ice, that can't happen and tonight we've got to do something different. … You've got to learn from game to game. But at the end of the day, we lost on home ice - and we want to win every game on home ice. Tonight's a big one and we want to end off the year on the right note."

 

MONAHAN ON TIGHT RACE IN THE STANDINGS:

"Right now, this is a real important time of the season. You can make up some ground, or you're going to lose it. As a team right now, we're taking steps forward and we want to close gaps on other teams and keep moving up the standings."

 

Video: "We want to come out with a better effort"

 

JOHNNY GAUDREAU ON OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION:

"I'm playing hockey for (a living), so I'm having fun constantly. Every once in a while, when you're not scoring, you're not getting your looks, it gets frustrating sometimes, but you've got to try and put that behind you and enjoy playing this game, playing with your teammates, and having a good time."

 

Video: "Keep working hard ... and they'll go in."

 

DEREK RYAN ON SEARCH FOR CONSISTENCY:

"Pretty much any team in the NHL is probably talking about that, they're trying to find that consistency and this group is no different. We have a young group and we went through the hard times earlier in November, and went through a good stretch after that, and ever since that, it's kind of been up and down. We're trying to find a more consistent game and the best teams do that."

 

Video: "Points are huge, no matter who you're playing"

 

GEOFF WARD ON GAUDREAU AND MONAHAN:

"The expectation is that they're impactful players in our lineup. We never talk to anybody about points. We want to make sure guys are making plays and having positive impacts on hockey games. You can't always control how much you score. If they weren't getting chances to score, that'd be something different - but you can't always control if they're going to go in or not. And on the nights they're not going in, make sure you're doing other things to help the team win. At the end of the day, we're not looking at point totals with those guys at all. We're looking more about the process. 'Are they impactful players in our lineup? Are they getting opportunities? Are they making plays, are they getting the chances to make plays?' And that's how we'll judge them, ultimately."

 

Video: "We like the look of our lineup with them in tonight"

 

WARD ON RITTICH GETTING THE START:

"There are a lot of similarities in starting goalies. No. 1, they're competitive, which he is. No. 2, they give you a lot of battle in the net, which he does. And No. 3, they have a mentality about them - a swagger - where they always want to be in the net. He's no different, so his personality and the makeup of what makes him who he is, goes hand-in-hand with the position of being a No. 1 goalie. We've got no qualms at all about him being ready to play tonight."

 

WARD ON BENNETT AND ZAC RINALDO COMING IN:

"They'll bring some energy to our team. We like the look of our lineup tonight."

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