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At the Rink: Rangers at Flames

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames could welcome defenseman Kris Russell back into the lineup as they look to extend their home winning streak to nine games against the New York Rangers on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, MSG+).

Russell, who has missed the past three games because of an upper-body injury, will be a game-time decision.

"It feels good," he said. "I've skated the last few days on my own. Ramped things up and the body feels good. If they call on me, I'm ready."

Russell leads the NHL with 83 blocked shots. He played a career-high 79 games in 2014-15 and set an NHL record with 283 blocked shots.

"He'll be part of warm-up and after that and after than we will make the final decision," Flames coach Bob Hartley said.

Russell isn't Hartley's only game-time decision.

Health will dictate which goaltender starts when the Flames try to sweep their five-game homestand for the first time since Jan. 22-Feb. 1, 2014, and move within one of the franchise record of 10 consecutive home wins (Nov. 7-Dec. 12, 2006).

"We're going to know after warm-up," Hartley said. "Both guys are still recovering, so we want to make sure that whoever feels the best will get the start."

Jonas Hiller missed practice Wednesday because of illness but ended up playing Thursday in a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres because Karri Ramo was also ill.

"I tried to just make it to the game," Hiller said. "They asked if I could back up and came in. The next thing I see is Karri leaning over a garbage can. It was a long night but I've played in longer games. We got the win and I definitely feel better today and we'll see how it's going to feel tonight."

Jiri Hudler also missed the game because of the illness going through Calgary's locker room.

It prompted Hartley to cancel practice Friday.

"We are healthy, we're still recovering," Hartley said. "I believe that as an organization, we did the right thing giving the boys a day off yesterday trying to keep them home. Our trainers worked all day trying to sanitize every room around the dressing room, the gym and everywhere. Hopefully, well at least we killed a few germs."

Antti Raanta could start as New York tries to avoid being swept on the three-game Western Canada trip. Raanta relieved starter Henrik Lundqvist early in the third period of a 7-5 loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. Lundqvist allowed five goals on 33 shots.

"I leave that to the coach. If he tells me to play, I'll play," Lundqvist told MSG Network following the game. "I'll analyze it quickly. There were some good things about this game, but there were definitely some things that need to improve."

Raanta made 22 saves in a 4-1 win against the Flames on Oct. 25.

Here are the projected lineups:


Kevin Hayes - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider - Oscar Lindberg - Rick Nash

J.T. Miller - Dominic Moore - Jesper Fast

Tanner Glass - Jarret Stoll - Emerson Etem

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle - Dylan McIlrath

Antti Raanta

Henrik Lundqvist

Injured: Derek Stepan (broken ribs), Kevin Klein (strained oblique)

Scratched: Viktor Stalberg


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - David Jones

Sam Bennett - Markus Granlund - Jiri Hudler

Mason Raymond - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik

Micheal Ferland - Matt Stajan - Joe Colborne

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dougie Hamilton

Ladislav Smid - Dennis Wideman

Jonas Hiller

Karri Ramo

Injured: Lance Bouma (broken leg)

Scratched: Brandon Bollig, Josh Jooris, Deryk Engelland

Status update: The Rangers did not skate Saturday. … Hudler is expected to play after missing the game against the Sabres on Thursday. Bouma, who has missed 25 games because of a broken fibula, might play next week, according to Hartley.

Who's hot: Brassard has five goals and seven points in his past six games. … Monahan has three goals and four assists in a four-game point streak. Gaudreau has five goals and seven points in his past four games. Brodie has six assists in a five-game point streak.

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