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Penguins' Fleury gets start against Flames

Schultz could debut for Pittsburgh; Ortio likely Calgary starter

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

FLAMES (26-34-4) at PENGUINS (33-22-8)


Season series: The Calgary Flames defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 7 on the strength of three first-period goals. Calgary goalie Karri Ramo made 23 saves and forward Johnny Gaudreau scored twice.

Flames team scope: Goalie Joni Ortio appears likely to start Saturday, when Calgary attempts to end a seven-game losing streak dating back to a 5-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 19. Niklas Backstrom, sporting his new Flames mask, and Jonas Hiller shared a net during practice Friday at Consol Energy Center. Calgary acquired Backstrom, who had spent each of his nine NHL seasons with the Minnesota Wild, on Monday for forward David Jones and a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Hiller and Ortio, who has yet to win in nine appearances this season, each started one of the Flames' two games since the trade. The starter will face a stiff challenge against the Penguins, who have scored at least four goals in three of their past four games. The Flames have allowed at least five goals in three of their past four, including six in a 6-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. Calgary will finish a four-game road trip on Saturday, when it will attempt to salvage a win after losing the first three by a combined score of 12-7.

Penguins team scope: Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury will start. Forward Kevin Porter will miss the remainder of the season after sustaining an ankle injury against the New York Rangers on Thursday. Porter went awkwardly into the boards on a hit from Rangers forward Viktor Stalberg during the first period Thursday and hobbled to the bench before being helped to the locker room. On Friday, coach Mike Sullivan said Porter required ankle surgery that will force him to miss 12 weeks. "It's a tough setback for him and for us," Sullivan said. It's unknown who the Penguins could call up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to replace Porter. Center Evgeni Malkin, who did not participate in practice Friday, had a maintenance day, Sullivan said. Defenseman Justin Schultz could make his Penguins debut after missing the past three games since being traded from the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 27. His first two games missed were the result of immigration issues, and he was healthy scratched Thursday to grant him an opportunity to fully participate in a practice before playing. Injured forwards Beau Bennett (upper body) and Eric Fehr (lower body) each joined the practice, but are not expected to return anytime soon.

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