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At the Rink: Flames at Predators

by Robby Stanley

NASHVILLE -- The rotation of goaltenders will continue Tuesday for the Calgary Flames as Karri Ramo will get his second start of the season when the Flames face the Nashville Predators.

Jonas Hiller got the start for Calgary on Saturday in a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues, Hiller's second consecutive loss to start the season. Ramo's first start was a 5-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers.

"We've got two guys that have played a lot of games in the NHL and have won a lot of games and are pushing each other," Flames forward Matt Stajan said. "We don't have a number one; they’re both number ones and they've both been great. Last game we didn't give much help to [Hiller] and he made a lot of big saves for us. It could have been a lot worse."

Despite rotating goalies each game to start the season, the Flames don't seem to be concerned with their goaltending. They believe the tandem of Hiller and Ramo can be effective as the season moves forward.

"I'm very happy with our goaltending," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "Hiller and Kari have given us chances to win games and that's what you expect from goalies. We have a great tandem. They're fun to work with. They're two great individuals."

Calgary is taking on a Predators team that has started the season with consecutive home wins. The Predators have outscored their opponents by a 7-3 margin, with the majority of the offense coming from the fourth line.

Paul Gaustad has been the anchor for the Predators on that fourth line, with two goals and four points, and winning a League-high 75.8 percent of his faceoffs.

"That's so huge to go out there and know that there's a really good chance he's going to win it and you're going to be coming away with the puck," Predators forward Eric Nystrom said. "That's huge for having the puck to start and that's what the game's about, having the puck more than them."

One of Nashville's biggest strengths is its defense corps, led by Shea Weber. The Flames will have a challenge trying to get around Nashville's big and mobile defense.

"That's one of the best parts of their team is the depth on defense, and they've got a lot of big bodies and a lot of skill back there that move the puck and they all jump into the play," Stajan said. "For us, we've got to limit turnovers, especially around their blue line and in the neutral zone. We have to take away some of their big point shots and try and get the puck behind them and make them play in their own end a bit."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jiri Hudler - Sean Monahan - Devin Setoguchi

Curtis Glencross - Mikael Backlund - Paul Byron

Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Johnny Gaudreau

Mason Raymond - Joe Colborne - Lance Bouma

TJ Brodie - Mark Giordano

Kris Russell - Deryk Engelland

Ladislav Smid - Dennis Wideman

Karri Ramo

Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Brian McGrattan, Raphael Diaz

Injured: David Jones (lower body)


Gabriel Bourque - Mike Ribeiro - James Neal

Filip Forsberg - Derek Roy - Craig Smith

Colin Wilson - Calle Jarnkrok - Olli Jokinen

Eric Nystrom - Paul Gaustad - Taylor Beck

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Anton Volchenkov - Seth Jones

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Rich Clune, Victor Bartley

Injured: Mike Fisher (Achilles tendon), Matt Cullen (upper body), Viktor Stalberg (lower body)

Who's hot: Giordano has recorded an assist in each game so far this season and has led the Flames in time on ice, averaging 23:17 per game. … Gaustad has one goal and three assists in two games for the Predators, along with a gaudy 75.8 faceoff winning percentage

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