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At the Rink: Stars at Flames

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames have several question marks surrounding their lineup when they open a five-game homestand at Scotiabank Saddledome against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-SW+).

"We have a few guys sick and we have a few guys injured," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "Everyone was on the ice and we have some decisions to make once we meet with the medical staff. We're not sure yet. The only thing I can tell you is that Karri Ramo will start in net."

Defenseman Kris Russell and forward Michael Frolik were absent from practice Monday because of maintenance, and forward Johnny Gaudreau didn't skate (flu). Forward Sean Monahan left early in the practice because of illness.

All four were back Tuesday, but Hartley couldn't offer any clarity on the status of his lineup.

"They're on the ice so if they're on the ice they are close to playing," Hartley said. "If they weren't close to playing we wouldn't put them in the ice this morning. We're just going to re-evaluate the situation with the medical staff and they'll give us the news."

A return home could help the struggling Flames, who have won four straight at Scotiabank Saddledome but are 3-5-1 in the past nine games after a three-game Pacific Division road trip that yielded a single point.

Calgary is 29th in the NHL with an 8-14-2 record.

"That's where the success of a hockey club starts -- you need to win at home," Hartley said. "That's where you generate confidence and that's where you generate momentum. We're unbeaten in the last four so we want to keep running on this. Tonight we're starting a big homestand so we need to be ready."

A run for the Flames would have to start against the elite of the Western Conference.

The Stars lead the NHL in wins with 19 and lead the Western Conference and rank second in the League with 38 points. Their 19-5-0 record is also the team's best mark through the first 24 games of a season in the franchise's 48-year history.

Dallas also owns the best road record in the NHL at 10-2-0, and has won six in a row away from American Airlines Center.

"Teams elevate their games against us and we elevate ours to match them," forward Tyler Seguin said. "In this league there's no easy night anymore. There's no guaranteed two points. Every game is going to be a tough one. When you're on top in the standings every team is ready for you. It's the same as being a defending championship team. You're going to see the best every night and you have to prepare for that, especially on the road."

Dallas enters the game having won each of their past three games in Calgary, and has earned a point in six of the past seven games overall against the Flames.

Calgary is aware of the challenge.

"A team like that, you can't sit back," Monahan said. "You've got to go and you've got to play aggressive. They're going to have the puck and they're going to want the puck and they make plays so we've got to challenge them and be aggressive and find ways to create our own chances."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Sharp

Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves

Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Valeri Nichushkin

Colton Sceviour - Vernon Fiddler - Ales Hemsky

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers

Patrik Nemeth - Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Jack Campbell

Injured: Kari Lehtonen (upper body)

Scratched: Travis Moen, Jamie Oleksiak, Jyrki Jokipakka


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

Deryk Engelland - Dennis Wideman

Karri Ramo

Jonas Hiller

Injured: Lance Bouma (lower body)

Scratched: Brandon Bollig, Josh Jooris, Ladislav Smid

Status update: The Stars aren't expected to make any changes to their lineup after a 4-3 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. … Ramo will make his 13th start in the past 14 games for Calgary.

Who's hot: Jamie Benn, named the NHL's first star of the week Monday, and Seguin each have eight-game point streaks. Benn has eight goals and 14 points. Seguin has four goals and 11 points during the streaks. … Klingberg has one goal and seven points as part of a five-game point streak. … Giordano has points in back-to-back games for Calgary.

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