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STONE SET TO MAKE FLAMES DEBUT

The defenceman will be in the lineup tonight in Nashville

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

For the second straight game, the Flames will have a new face on their blueline.

Michael Stone, acquired on Monday from the Arizona Coyotes, is set to make his Flames debut this evening in Nashville. 

The 26-year-old will skate alongside Matt Bartkowski, who signed a two-year deal with the team last week, in tonight's game against the Predators.

"We think there's enough similiarity between the way we play and Phoenix (plays) and the way he played with Phoenix. There's some subtle differences in our game, which we're going through here but we wanted to get him right away," Glen Gulutzan confirmed after the morning skate at Bridgestone Arena.

"It does give you flexibility down the road with your pairings and it's just depth. It gives you some flexibility, it allows you to look at a few things. But right now, we just want to get him introduced to how we're going to play."

With Stone sliding into the rotation, Dennis Wideman and Jyrki Jokipakka will sit as healthy scratches. TJ Brodie will skate with Deryk Engelland and Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton will remained paired up.

The move comes at the perfect time for Stone, who has acknowledged his struggles in Arizona this season.

"It's awesome. If I was going to be moved, this is a really good situation for me and my family. I've got two young kids, born in September, and the fact that my wife is from Calgary and has a bunch of family there is real beneficial to us.

"I'm not going to defend the season I've had thus far. It hasn't been the same as the one prior. I'll be the first one to admit that.

"It is nice to get a fresh start, an opportunity, a change of scenery. I mean, we haven't been in the playoffs since my first year in Phoenix. We've been close but then we'd take a couple of steps back. It's nice to come in and be in the hunt."

While his season hasn't gone the way he would have liked, Stone is confident he can be an asset to the Flames defence corps. He has played a variety of roles throughout his career and believes he can slot in on any pairing.

"I just want to come in and play my game. Just be a stable body, hopefully I can chip in some more offence than I have this season so far. I feel like I've grown into a player that can play in all situations. I'm up for anything."

Given the number of times Stone has played the Flames over the course of his career, going over the systems and meeting his teammates was a relatively easy affair for the blueliner. He views his style of play as a perfect match with the Flames' systems.

"They're a hard team. They're a quick team. Really good transition, defence to offence. I'm looking forward to spending a little less time in my d-zone and a little more time on the offensive blueline."

After getting to know Stone over the past day and a half, Gulutzan expects Stone will be fired up for this evening's match-up and will have energy to burn when he hits the ice at Bridgestone Arena.

"I think when you get a new guy on a team, he wants to show something to his teammates," Gulutzan noted. "I think there will be some juice in his game tonight, certainly. Excitement to be in a playoff run. I mean, it's certainly a change of mentality. I think there's a lot of good things that line up with Stoney - his wife's from Calgary, there's a lot of excitement from the home front, he's in a playoff race. All those things, I think you'll see some juice in his game."

LINEUP NOTES: Brian Elliott will get the start this evening in Nashville. The netminder made 17 saves in the 2-1 overtime setback to the Canucks on Saturday ... Alex Chiasson will return to the lineup tonight and Freddie Hamilton will sit as a healthy scratch ... Forward Garnet Hathaway has been assigned to the Stockton Heat.

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