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At the Rink: Flames at Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com

CHICAGO -- Heading into a game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Sunday (8:30 p.m. ET; SN1, CSN-CH), the Calgary Flames aren't changing anything with their lineup.

After winning 3-2 in overtime at the Washington Capitals on Friday, the Flames' third win in the past five games, coach Bob Hartley is satisfied with their recent style of play.

"That's what I like from our guys right now," Hartley said after the Flames' morning skate. "We're starting to see us play our game. We always kind of study [the other] team and prepare videos on their team, but our mindset is on our team. That's where it has to be."

After qualifying for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Flames advanced to the Western Conference Second Round, where they were eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks. They came into this season with high expectations, but started 3-9-1 before stringing two wins together for the first time. The biggest issue, according to the Flames, was not reaching the main goals they set for each game: being strong on the forecheck and controlling the pace of play.

They've done a better job of those things lately.

"The first little stretch of the season there, we were getting away from our game and almost letting other teams dictate the pace," former Blackhawks forward Brandon Bollig said. "Now, you can see we're working harder, we're staying more disciplined and we're going to take care of our end first. That is the Calgary Flames' mindset, that we're going to outwork the other team. We made a few key acquisitions over the summer and got better on paper, but that doesn't always mean much if you don't go out there and do it."

Forward Johnny Gaudreau, who leads Calgary with 17 points (four goals), will play his 100th NHL game. Gaudreau has 82 points (29 goals) in his first 99 games, which is tied with Gary Suter for 10th in Flames history for points in a player's first 100 games. Dan Quinn (83) is ninth and Al MacInnis (87) is eighth.

"I know it's a business and you've got to work hard and stuff, but I just enjoy it," Gaudreau said. I enjoy it out there playing with [Sean Monahan] and [Jiri Hudler]. It was fun last year and it's been fun this year."

Flames goalie Karri Ramo will make his eighth straight start. Since being recalled from Stockton of the American Hockey League, Ramo has started seven of Calgary's eight games, going 4-3-0 with a 3.00 goals-against average and .901 save percentage.

The Blackhawks, who didn't have a full morning skate, will use the same skaters they did in a 4-2 win at the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

Backup goalie Scott Darling, who is 1-2-0 with a 3.11 GAA and .885 save percentage, will start.

"He's been OK," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I just think we're going to need him to be solid, be consistent, win hockey games for us and give us the consistency in the net that was so effective for us last year."

Here are the projected lineups:

FLAMES

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik

Joe Colborne - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Micheal Ferland - Derek Grant - Brandon Bollig

Mark Giordano - T.J. Brodie

Kris Russell - Dougie Hamilton

Deryk Engelland - Dennis Wideman

Karri Ramo

Joni Ortio

Injured: Jonas Hiller (lower body), Lance Bouma (broken fibula)

Scratched: Josh Jooris, Ladislav Smid, Mason Raymond

BLACKHAWKS

Marko Dano - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane

Teuvo Teravainen - Marcus Kruger - Andrew Shaw

Brandon Mashinter - Tanner Kero - Ryan Garbutt

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Trevor van Riemsdyk - Brent Seabrook

Trevor Daley - Michal Rozsival

Scott Darling

Corey Crawford

Injured: None.

Scratched: Andrew Desjardins, Viktor Tikhonov, David Rundblad

Status report: This is Darling's first start since allowing five goals in Chicago's 5-4 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 30. His most recent appearance was in relief of starter Corey Crawford at the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 6; he made 12 saves on 13 shots. ... Keith and Rozsival will play after each returned from a lengthy injury absence against the Blues on Saturday.

Who's hot: Kane has scored a goal in six straight games and has a point in an NHL-leading 12 straight games for the Blackhawks. ... Monahan has eight points (four goals), and Bennett has 10 points (four goals) in the past 10 games for the Flames.

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