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Flames look to maintain focus against Hurricanes

Vow not to let Wideman's suspension derail playoff run

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames will host the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday (NHL.TV, SN1, FS-CR) without the services of defenseman Dennis Wideman.
Wideman has been suspended for 20 games for conduct violative of Rule 40 (Physical Abuse of Officials) following an incident during Calgary's 2-1 loss against the Nashville Predators on Jan. 27.
"At this level, you have to be able to put any situations … we have a game tonight and looking at our situation, we have no points to lose or no points to waste based on coming out and saying, 'Well, this is a distraction,' " Flames coach Bob Hartley said prior to the announcement of Wideman's suspension.

"We're better than this. Unfortunately, some of those situations sometimes happen and you have to deal with them. But we're a strong group. We're supporting each other and that's the way it is."
The Flames return from the All-Star break eight points back of the Anaheim Ducks for third place in the Pacific Division, and 11 points behind the Predators for the second wild card spot from the Western Conference into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Calgary has 34 games remaining.
"Anytime one of your good buddies and top players on our team are out, we've got to step up and rally around it," Flames captain Mark Giordano said prior to the Wideman ruling. "More importantly for our team and our organization, we've got to get back into this and get that good feeling going.
"We're looking forward to getting this game going tonight. There's a few different things going on. I don't think it's a distraction for the guys in the lineup. We all feel for our teammate. I think he's in a tough spot. We'll see how it works out, but for our team, it's a huge stretch here of games that basically determine whether we're going to get back into it or not. We've got to find ways to put all this stuff aside and come out and have a great start tonight."
Calgary will host Carolina, which has earned 15 out of a possible 20 points in its past 10 games to climb to within three points of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold the second wild card spot from the Eastern Conference.
"We have 31 games left," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "Some of our young D I thought were running on fumes, so [the All-Star break] came at a good time for them. Some guys had bumps and bruises, comes at a good time for them. Other guys, if they're playing well want to keep playing, but all in all you've got to get away, get yourself mentally right to have a strong push to finish. "
Carolina won its final two games prior to the All-Star break, but Peters suggested that momentum has since been lost.
"The schedule is the schedule," he said. "We can sit here and [complain] about the breaks coming at a certain time. We can [complain] about the back-to-backs. We can [complain] about playing in Canada and then playing at home the next day in a back-to-back and clearing customs, or we can go play. What are you going to do? Go play.
"We've got a game tonight. The biggest game of the year. Then when we play Friday, that's the biggest game of the year. Then we go to Montreal. Biggest game of the year. Let's go. Let's play Calgary tonight."
Here are the projected lineups:
Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Chris Terry - Jay McClement - Riley Nash
John-Michael Liles - Justin Faulk
Noah Hanifin - Ron Hainsey
Jaccob Slavin - Ryan Murphy
Cam Ward
Eddie Lack
Injured: James Wisniewski (knee), Brett Pesce (lower body)
Scratched: Michal Jordan, Nathan Gerbe, Brad Malone
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler
Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik
Micheal Ferland - Matt Stajan - David Jones
Lance Bouma - Markus Granlund - Joe Colborne
Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie
Kris Russell - Dougie Hamilton
Ladislav Smid - Deryk Engelland
Karri Ramo
Jonas Hiller
Injured: None
Scratched: Brandon Bollig, Jakub Nakladal, Josh Jooris
Suspended: Dennis Wideman
Status update: Di Giuseppe and Murphy were recalled Sunday from Charlotte of the American Hockey League. … Defenseman Jakub Nakladal was recalled from Stockton of the AHL. Forward Mason Raymond was assigned to Stockton after clearing waivers Wednesday.
Who's hot: Lack is 4-1-0 with a 1.59 goals-against average and one shutout in five career appearances against Calgary. Jordan Staal has five points as part of a four-game point scoring streak and 12 points in his past 11 games. … Giordano has one goal and five points in his past five games, and 19 points in his past 17 games.

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