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Calgary is final stop on Florida's road swing

by Matthew Mankiewich
PANTHERS (0-2-0) at FLAMES (1-1-0)


Season series --
It's a one-shot deal between these two as the Panthers make the final stop on their western Canada swing. Florida last visited Calgary on Dec. 12, 2008, a 3-2 shootout win for the Cats. The Flames last paid a visit to South Florida on February 5, 2010 and took a 2-1 victory back home with them.

Big story -- The Panthers started their season out west with a pair of frustrating losses to the Oilers and Canucks. A second-period trifecta of Oiler goals put the Cats behind in the opener and a dose of the Sedin twins kept them out of the point column the following night in Vancouver. The Flames weren't too happy with their opening performance either, a 4-0 loss to provincial rival Edmonton, but bounced back nicely against the highly-touted Kings, a solid 3-1 win at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Team scope:

Panthers -- Coach Peter DeBoer is among many on the team who believe Florida is playing better than its record so far.

"We strung together six real good periods, creating chances. This is a real trap game with them waiting fresh and us playing in back-to-back situations," he told the Sun-Sentinel after the loss in Vancouver. "We competed for 60 minutes. We could easily be sitting here 2-0 right now. I know that doesn't make anyone feel any better, but that's the truth of it."

Flames --
The Flames' plague of injuries may be letting up just a bit. Short of centers already with the loss of Daymond Langkow (neck) and Ryan Stone (knee), the impending return of Matt Stajan from a separated shoulder could not have come at a better time. No longer wearing the yellow no-hit jersey in practice Tuesday, he was optimistic about possibly making Thursday's lineup.

"It feels good," Stajan told the Calgary Herald after a particularly intense "old-time hockey" session. "Just try not to think about it. You go out there and play. It didn't give me any issues today. Even with a little contact too, I felt fine.

"That's the first test."

Who's hot -- After allowing four goals to the Oilers in the season opener, Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff clamped down on the Kings, allowing one goal on 22 shots for the win. … Florida's Marty Reasoner scored twice in the Panthers' loss in Rexall Place; he is currently the only player on either team with more than one goal.

Injury report --
Not counting Stajan, no less than seven Flames grace the list of walking wounded. Rene Bourque (potential head injury) is day-to-day, as is Raitis Ivanans with a similar condition. David Moss (shoulder), Ales Kotalik (knee) and Adam Pardy (shoulder) join Stone and Langkow on the indefinite roll. … On the Panthers side, Byron Bitz (groin) was placed on the injured list last week, but his injury is not thought to be too serious.

Stat pack --
Former Panther mainstay Olli Jokinen played 567 games in south Florida and missed just seven. Jay Bouwmeester played six seasons with the Panthers. … The Panthers are 0-for-8 on the power play so far, as the Flames would be save for an empty-netter in the closing seconds of the Kings game. On the other hand, the Panthers have allowed no extra-man tallies in only two short-handed opportunities while the Flames have allowed a pair of goals in nine. … The Panthers went penalty-free Monday, the first time they'd done that since the 2008-09 season and only the fourth time in franchise history. They're 2-2 in those games. … The Flames' top line of Jokinen, Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay has yet to record a point on 22 shots.

Puck drop --
"We just continue to move on. I mean, it's never easy to lose guys. But it is what it is, and your young players get the opportunity to be put in situations they maybe they wouldn't normally be put in … as with others." -- Flames coach Brent Sutter in the Calgary Herald on the early rash of injuries

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