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At the Rink: Flames at Islanders

by David Satriano

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Calgary Flames continue their push toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Islanders on Friday, but they likely will have to do so without captain Mark Giordano for the foreseeable future.

Giordano sustained an upper-body injury in a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday and no update or timetable was provided on his condition, although coach Bob Hartley ruled him as most likely out Friday.

His 48 points lead NHL defensemen in scoring and he is tied with forward Jiri Hudler for the Flames scoring lead. Giordano has played all 61 games this season and leads the Flames with an average ice time of 25:10 per game.

"He plays a lot for us and he plays a lot of minutes, a lot of minutes against the top lines," Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman said after practice. "Power play, [penalty kill] and all of that, so anytime you lose a guy like that you have to try and pick it up by committee."

Islanders coach Jack Capuano said his team also is dealing with a number of injuries.

"We got three guys out too," Capuano said. "We have [forwards Kyle] Okposo, [Mikhail] Grabovksi, [Casey] Cizikas, and the list goes on. Giordano, whether he is in or out … he is a big part of [the Flames]. He is their captain, he [provides] leadership, but they have young players over there who have stepped up and veteran guys who have stepped up."

Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey, a Calgary native, agreed.

"[Giordano] has been one of the best defensemen in the League, so that would be a big loss for them," Hickey said. "But we've lost guys before too and we haven't had big setbacks. You find other guys to step up and you'd assume they will do the same."

The Flames are playing their third game on a seven-game road trip, and are 1-1-0. Entering play Friday they are one point behind the Minnesota Wild for the second Western Conference wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Islanders have 82 points, which is tied with the New York Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division, though the Rangers will have three games in hand.

"They have a no-quit attitude," Islanders captain John Tavares said of the Flames. "We have to be ready to play. This is a big game for them and it's obviously a big game for us. The points are huge."

Goalie Jaroslav Halak will get his second chance to become the Islanders leader for wins in a season with his 33rd. Halak lost to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, which kept him at 32 wins.

"As a team we have obviously been a lot better defensively this year in front of him," Tavares said. "But at the same time, when a big save is needed, he makes it. His consistency and work ethic has been stabilizing for us and has affected the locker room."

Here are the projected lineups:


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - David Jones

Curtis Glencross - Joe Colborne - Josh Jooris

Brandon Bollig - Markus Granlund - Michael Ferland

Deryk Engelland - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Raphael Diaz - Corey Potter

Karri Ramo

Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Matt Stajan, Mason Raymond, Tyler Wotherspoon

Injured: Paul Byron (lower body), Ladislav Smid (upper body), Mark Giordano (upper body)


Anders Lee - John Tavares - Josh Bailey

Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Ryan Strome

Nikolay Kulemin - Brock Nelson - Cal Clutterbuck

Matt Martin - Kael Mouillierat - Colin McDonald

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk

Lubomir Visnovsky - Thomas Hickey

Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic

Jaroslav Halak

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Matt Donovan, Brian Strait

Injured: Mikhail Grabovski (upper body), Casey Cizikas (lower body), Kyle Okposo (upper body), Eric Boulton (lower body)

Status report: Wotherspoon, who was recalled from Adirondack of the American Hockey League on Friday, likely will be a healthy scratch. He has two goals and 21 points in 46 AHL games. He has not played an NHL game this season, but last season had four assists in 14 games. … Potter likely will make his season debut.

Who's hot: Lee has seven goals and seven assists in 13 games. … Tavares has five goals and seven assists in seven games. … Hudler has three goals and two assists in his past six games. … Monahan has four goals and four assists in his past six games.


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