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At the Rink: Jets at Flames

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Forward Lance Bouma could return to the lineup as the Calgary Flames attempt to tie a franchise record for consecutive home wins against the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, TSN3, SNW) in the final game for both teams before the Christmas break.

Bouma has missed 30 games because of a fractured tibia.

"He's ready," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. “He has been ready and he's been medically cleared for quite a few days. At the same time, he's so far ahead of schedule that as a coaching staff and an organization, we've met and sat with the medical staff on this and they kind of agreed that if you don't play for basically three months, just make sure that we put him in the right situation at the right time.

"We all know what he brings, but there's no decision yet. We're going to sit this afternoon and we'll come up with the final decision."

Bouma sustained the injury in the second period of a 4-3 loss against the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 13, when he fell awkwardly into the boards after a check by Blues forward Ryan Reaves.

"I think the hardest thing is just watching," Bouma said. "It's tough watching the game, that's the biggest thing. Mentally, it's the hardest part about it. Obviously I've been skating the last three weeks here, two-and-a-half weeks. It's been good. I feel like I've been getting in shape. I feel good. I feel like I'm ready to go."

The Flames have won nine straight games at home. The franchise record is 10, set from Nov. 7-Dec. 12, 2006. Calgary has not lost at home since Oct. 30 against the Montreal Canadiens. Eight of the Flames' next nine games are at home.

The Jets have one win in their past 10 road games (1-9-0) and have lost 11 of the past 14 games (3-10-1) away from MTS Centre. Winnipeg lost 3-1 against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. The Jets outshot the Oilers 45-21 in the defeat.

Winnipeg most recently won on the road on Nov. 27 against the Minnesota Wild.

"It seems pretty difficult to us right now. I'm not going to lie to you," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. "We were a pretty solid road team last year. We had a tough eight-day, nine-day stretch in November. That's about really the stretch of hockey that we didn't play particularly well. I don't know that it happened because we were on the road. Tough Central Division opponents on the road, and I do think that the road schedule prior, the first four sets of back-to-back games on the road, I think it caught up with us a little bit on that stretch.

"After that, we played a heck of a road game in Edmonton. Our last two prior to that are into Chicago on back-to-back nights, and I liked the way we played in those two as well. It's tough.

"I still think the best place to find yourself is on the road. The best place to find that game, to build that camaraderie, is on the road. It's hard when you suffer a defeat like last night. You've got a lot of your top-end guys wondering how they didn't get that one by him, but that's what we're learning here as a young team, how to handle those things."

Here are the projected lineups:


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Drew Stafford

Chris Thorburn - Alexander Burmistrov - Nikolaj Ehlers

Matt Halischuk - Andrew Copp - Joel Armia

Jacob Trouba - Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom - Tyler Myers

Mark Stuart - Ben Chiarot

Michael Hutchinson

Connor Hellebuyck

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back), Ondrej Pavelec (knee)

Scratched: Adam Pardy, Anthony Peluso, Paul Postma


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne

Mason Raymond - Markus Granlund - Jiri Hudler

Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Micheal Ferland

Lance Bouma - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dougie Hamilton

Dennis Wideman - Deryk Engelland

Karri Ramo

Jonas Hiller

Injured: Michael Frolik (upper body)

Scratched: Brandon Bollig, Josh Jooris, Ladislav Smid

Status update: Hutchinson will start for the first time since Dec. 6. Maurice said he'd consider other changes after Winnipeg's morning skate … Ramo will make his fifth straight start for Calgary. Jooris is expected to be a healthy scratch if Bouma returns to the lineup for the Flames.

Who's hot: Wheeler has 11 assists and 13 points in his past 12 games … Gaudreau has three goals and eight points in his past six games.

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