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Preview: Flames at Red Wings

Forward Thomas Vanek returns to lineup for Detroit; Calgary begins six-game road trip

by Dave Hogg / Correspondent

FLAMES (7-11-1) at RED WINGS (8-9-1)

7:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports, FS-D, NHL.TV


Flames team scope

The Calgary Flames begin a season-high six-game road trip which begins with their final trip to Joe Louis Arena to play the Detroit Red Wings. "We know this is going to be a tough trip, but we have to focus on winning this game and going from there," defenseman Dennis Wideman said. Goalie Chad Johnson will make his fourth straight start. He's allowed four goals in the past three games. "It is nice to get several starts in a row, because you get a comfort level," he said.


Red Wings team scope

Forward Thomas Vanek returns to the lineup after missing 11 games with a lower-body injury. Despite missing more than half of Detroit's games, his four goals are tied for second on the team, trailing only Dylan Larkin (five). "It's always tough to be injured, but especially when the team is struggling," Vanek said. "I'm hoping I can get out there tonight and give us a boost." The Red Wings have lost three straight games and are 2-7-1 in their past 10 games. They've been shut out in two of the past three games. "I think our process has been fine in the last couple games," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We just need guys to step up and make the big plays that we need late in games."


Flames projected lineup

Sam Bennett -- Sean Monahan -- Troy Brouwer

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Matt Stajan -- Hunter Shinkaruk -- Alex Chiasson

Micheal Ferland -- Freddie Hamilton -- Garnet Hathaway

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Dennis Wideman

Brett Kulak -- Deryk Engelland

Chad Johnson

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Linden Vey

Injured: Ladislav Smid (neck), Kris Versteeg (groin), Lance Bouma (upper body), Johnny Gaudreau (finger)


Red Wings projected lineup

Anthony Mantha -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Gustav Nyquist

Frans Nielsen -- Dylan Larkin -- Thomas Vanek

Tomas Tatar -- Riley Sheahan -- Justin Abdelkader

Drew Miller -- Luke Glendening -- Steve Ott

Danny DeKeyser -- Mike Green

Jonathan Ericsson -- Alexey Marchenko

Niklas Kronwall -- Ryan Sproul

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Xavier Ouellet, Brendan Smith, Tyler Bertuzzi

Injured: Tomas Jurco (back), Darren Helm (upper body), Andreas Athanasiou (lower body)


Status report

Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said Johnson will start because he has played well, but wouldn't confirm who will start against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. … Shinkaruk practiced on the third line at the morning skate, replacing Vey. Shinkaruk had been scratched in each of the past three games. … Vanek will play with Nielsen, his former teammate with the New York Islanders, and Larkin. Mantha will moves up to Zetterberg's line, with Tatar and Abdelkader moving to the third line alongside Sheahan.


Who's hot

Johnson is 4-3-1 with a 2.35 goals-against average in eight games. … Monahan had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, ending a nine-game streak where he had no goals. … Howard has a .945 save percentage in nine games this season.

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