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Preview: Flames at Penguins

Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby three points from 1,000; Chad Johnson in goal for Calgary

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

FLAMES (27-25-3) at PENGUINS (33-13-5)

7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, ROOT, SNW, NHL.TV


Flames team scope

Calgary Flames goalie Chad Johnson will start after backing up Brian Elliott for the past four games. Johnson's last start was Jan. 24, when he allowed five goals on 20 shots in a 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. "We had a string of games where [Elliott] came in and played well," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "But [Johnson] has gotten some good practices in and I think he's looked sharp." Forward Garnet Hathaway will return after missing eight games with an upper-body injury. "I feel great," Hathaway said. "I've been out for a bit. It's always unfortunate. Anybody who's been through it knows it's a lot mentally and physically, but I feel good." Calgary will look to continue its recent surge and climb into a Stanley Cup Playoffs spot. Despite losing 4-3 at the New York Rangers on Sunday, the Flames are 3-1-0 in their past four games after losing their previous four. Calgary has scored at least three goals in each of those four games. Forward Sean Monahan, who leads the Flames with 19 goals, helped spark them with a four-game point streak. He has four goals and five points during that streak and 12 points (nine goals, three assists) in his past 12 games. The Flames' 57 points are tied with the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference; the Blues have two games in hand. Calgary is one point behind the Los Angeles Kings for the first wild card.


Penguins team scope

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby needs three points to reach 1,000 in his NHL career. If he reaches the milestone Tuesday, he would become the 12th fastest in League history to do so. "One thousand of anything is a lot," forward Eric Fehr said. "He's the best player in the world right now and it'll be pretty special to see him get 1,000." Crosby is coming off a three-point game (two goals, one assist) against St. Louis on Saturday and has 14 points (10 goals, four assists) in his past 10 games. He has scored three points in 117 of his 752 games and has 14 points (10 goals, four assists) in 10 career games against the Flames. The Penguins could use a big night from Crosby to make up for the absence of injured forwards Evgeni Malkin (lower body), Conor Sheary (upper body) and Carl Hagelin (concussion). Malkin skated for a second consecutive day in a no-contact jersey but will miss his fifth consecutive game. Hagelin was diagnosed with a concussion after leaving during the first period against St. Louis. Sheary is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after being injured on Jan. 31. "There has been a lot of turnaround with injuries and call-ups," forward Nick Bonino said. "I think everyone here can play at the NHL level. I think we have great depth in the organization." Despite the injuries, Pittsburgh is 12-5-0 in its past 17 games and 22-3-2 at home this season. The Penguins have 71 points, tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Goaltender Matt Murray will start.


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Troy Brouwer

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Alex Chiasson

Micheal Ferland -- Matt Stajan -- Garnet Hathaway

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Dennis Wideman

Brett Kulak -- Deryk Engelland

Chad Johnson

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Lance Bouma, Jyrki Jokipakka

Injured: Ladislav Smid (neck)


Penguins projected lineup

Chris Kunitz -- Sidney Crosby -- Bryan Rust

Jake Guentzel -- Nick Bonino -- Phil Kessel

Scott Wilson -- Carter Rowney -- Patric Hornqvist

Tom Kuhnhackl -- Matt Cullen -- Eric Fehr

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Ian Cole -- Justin Schultz

Olli Maatta -- Trevor Daley

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Chad Ruhwedel

Injured : Evgeni Malkin (lower body), Conor Sheary (upper body), Carl Hagelin (concussion)


Status report

Kulak (illness) will return and replace Jokipakka. Kulak last played Jan. 26 against the Ottawa Senators. … Without Hagelin, the Penguins will move Wilson to left wing on the third line alongside Rowney and Hornqvist. Kuhnhackl is expected to enter the lineup at left wing on the fourth line.


Who's hot

Gaudreau has six points (one goal, five assists) during a four-game point streak. Brodie has five assists in his past three games. … Kessel has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past seven games and Schultz has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in his past nine.

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