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At the Rink: Hurricanes at Flames

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames will continue their goaltending rotation in hopes of finding their first win of the season on home ice when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.

The Flames, who are 0-1-1 at home, will start Jonas Hiller in net, his fifth game of the season. He and Karri Ramo have alternated starts, with neither goalie having played in back-to-back games.

"That's not a problem with me," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "That's not a controversy. I hope [the media] will ask me those questions in April, May and June."

Hiller is 2-2-0 with a 2.22 goals-against average and .942 save percentage. Ramo is 2-1-1 with a 2.20 GAA and .917 save percentage.

The competition, Hiller said, has helped fuel the tandem.

"It's good to know that you have two guys that can win you games on any night," he said. "We get along really well, and at the same time if you face 30-plus shots every night it's nice to get a night off here and there and you know the other guys can do the job as good as you and help the team out. It gives you confidence. All we can do is try to help the team win, and I think we've done a pretty good job at that."

Hiller was signed to a two-year contract by the Flames on July 1. Ramo is in the final season of a two-year contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

The duo, Hartley said, has given him little to worry about in net.

"We've been very fortunate," Hartley said. "The goaltending we've got from Jonas and Karri has been unbelievable. That brings lots of confidence to the group. We felt that it would be a great combination with Karri and we were right on on this one. They are two great guys. They get along great."

But neither has a home win.

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said he is hoping his injury-riddled squad can continue that trend for Calgary despite Carolina missing forwards Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Patrick Dwyer and Nathan Gerbe, and defenseman John-Michael Liles to injury.

Carolina (0-3-2) is thinking more inward in trying to secure its first win of the season.

"I'm more concerned about my group obviously because we control that, but they [the Flames] are playing well," Peters said. "They play a real quick game. I like their speed up front. Their back end has been very dangerous off the rush. They do a lot of good things. We've got our work cut out for us [Thursday]. If we work hard and manage the puck we'll be fine."

The rash of injuries for the Hurricanes has sparked an influx of youth for Peters, including the recently recalled Brody Sutter from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. He's expected to play in the second game of his NHL career, in his hometown of Calgary.

"It's exciting; I'm pretty lucky," said Sutter, the son of former NHL player Duane Sutter. "This is just the way the schedule turned out. I was a Flames fan, yeah. My dad used to work for them. Once I was drafted I swapped my allegiance, but I was definitely a Flames fan growing up.

"It's pretty neat, just the fact that it's my second game and it's my hometown. It's a cool experience."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Jiri Tlusty - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin

Chris Terry - Jay McClement - Zach Boychuk

Brad Malone - Patrick Brown - Brody Sutter

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk

Jay Harrison - Tim Gleason

Ron Hainsey - Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Brett Bellemore

Injured: Patrick Dwyer (lower body), John-Michael Liles (lower body), Eric Staal (upper body), Jordan Staal (leg), Nathan Gerbe (lower body)


Jiri Hudler - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne

Curtis Glencross - Matt Stajan - Paul Byron

Mason Raymond - Mikael Backlund - Johnny Gaudreau

Brandon Bollig - Lance Bouma - Josh Jooris

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Ladislav Smid - Deryk Engelland

Jonas Hiller

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Brian McGrattan, Raphael Diaz

Injured: Sam Bennett (shoulder surgery), Corey Potter (shoulder surgery), David Jones (lower body), Devin Setoguchi (flu)

Status report: Sutter playing for the Hurricanes means Murphy can return being a defenseman full-time. The Hurricanes expect to see a few players return off the IR in the coming days. … Jones has returned to practice and is expected to return to the lineup at some point during the Flames' five-game homestand. ... Setoguchi missed the morning skate with the flu and is not expected to play.

Who's hot: Terry has two goals and four points in his past three games. … After losing his first two starts of the season, Hiller has earned wins in his past two starts, stopping a combined 83 of 85 shots for Calgary.

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