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At the Rink: Lightning at Flames

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames vow not to rest on their laurels following a successful 4-2-0 road trip when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday in the first of five straight home games.

After dropping their home opener, the Flames took eight of a possible 12 points on an 11-day road trip.

"You've got to make it count when you have a good, successful trip like we did," captain Mark Giordano said. "We got the points we wanted out of the trip. You have to make it count. What I mean by saying that is we have to have a successful homestand here. We have to get points in a lot of these games. We can put ourselves in a pretty good spot here early in the year."

The Flames defeated the Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators, and closed the trip with a 4-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

Calgary will get an immediate boost too. Forward Josh Jooris and defenseman Deryk Engelland will return to the lineup.

Jooris sustained an upper-body injury in a 3-2 loss Friday to the Columbus Blue Jackets, his first NHL game that also featured his first NHL goal. Engelland missed three straight with a lower-body injury.

They're anxious to help continue the Flames' good fortunes.

"We want to keep going the way we have but even better; I think we can do a lot better on our starts, come out and play a full 60 minutes and we wouldn't be behind a little bit at the get-go," Engelland said. "I think if we can come out flying like we did in the second period last game [against the Jets], it's looking good for us."

Carrying that momentum over is easier said than done, however.

Calgary coach Bob Hartley said there's a sense of relaxation in coming home.

"In the book of hockey, coming back from a long road trip it seems like it always takes a while to get going," Hartley said. "On our side we can't do much worse than our last two games. We had awful first periods and our goaltending kept us in there. We're looking for a good start. We're a skating team. We want to get going.

"We have our next five games at home. It's important that we take advantage of this homestand. If we don't, what’s the sense of going 4-2 on the road?"

Calgary will face a Tampa Bay team playing the second half of a back-to-back. The Lightning lost 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.

They also lost veteran forward Ryan Callahan; he left the game Tuesday with 6:17 left in the second period with a lower-body injury.

Coach Jon Cooper said Callahan won't play Wednesday and is week-to-week. Alex Killorn, who sustained an upper-body injury in the morning skate prior to the game against the Oilers, also remains sidelined.

Despite no Callahan or Killorn, Cooper has options to work with.

He can insert Mike Blunden into his lineup or, should he choose to run with seven defensemen, 24-year-old Luke Witkowski will make his NHL debut. Cooper indicated this morning he's more likely to run with 12 forwards, meaning Blunden could play his first game as a member of the Lightning.

Here are the projected lineups:


Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Brett Connolly

Jonathan Drouin - Valtteri Filppula - Tyler Johnson

Nikita Kucherov - Vladislav Namestnikov - J.T. Brown

Brenden Morrow - Brian Boyle - Mike Blunden

Matthew Carle - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Mark Barberio - Eric Brewer

Evgeni Nabokov

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Luke Witkowski

Injured: Alex Killorn (upper body) Victor Hedman (hand), Radko Gudas (lower body), Ryan Callahan (lower body)


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Mason Raymond

Paul Byron - Mikael Backlund - Jiri Hudler

Curtis Glencross - Joe Colborne - Josh Jooris

Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Lance Bouma

TJ Brodie - Mark Giordano

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Ladislav Smid - Deryk Engelland

Karri Ramo

Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Brian McGrattan, Devin Setoguchi, Raphael Diaz

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

Status report: Tampa Bay is expected to give Nabokov his second start of the season. … Blunden was recalled Tuesday from Syracuse of the American Hockey League. … After playing against the Jets on Sunday, Setoguchi will be a healthy scratch for the third time this season.

Who's hot: Stamkos had five goals and six points in three games prior to being shut out against the Oilers. … Brodie, who signed a five-year extension Monday, had at least one point in each game of Calgary's six-game road trip. He holds a share of the NHL scoring lead for defensemen with three goals and seven points.

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