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Canucks back from tough trip to face Flames

by John Kreiser

FLAMES (16-26-6) at CANUCKS (24-16-9)


Last 10: Calgary 2-8-0; Vancouver 2-5-3

Season series: The Calgary Flames have lost twice at home to the Vancouver Canucks, most recently 2-0 on Dec. 29. This is the first of three games at Rogers Arena, where the Canucks have won four in a row against the Flames.

Big story: The Canucks have to be delighted to be home after a nightmarish three-game trip that saw them sandwich 1-0 losses around a 9-1 whipping by the Anaheim Ducks. But the Flames are a better team on the road than at home; they've lost seven in a row at Scotiabank Saddledome but split their past four away Calgary.

Team Scope:

Flames: It's been a busy week for Calgary. The Flames started with back-to-back road games against the Carolina Hurricanes (a 2-0 victory) and Nashville Predators (a 4-2 loss) before returning home Thursday and losing 5-2 to the Winnipeg Jets. Calgary visits the San Jose Sharks on Monday before returning for a five-game homestand.

Goaltender Karri Ramo, who started against Carolina and Nashville and will get the call in Vancouver, told the Flames website Friday he wasn't even aware the team was playing four games in four time zones during a six-day period.

"I haven't even noticed," he said. "We have to focus on what's going on right now, don't think about too much. Get yourself ready, get enough sleep and get ready for it."

Ramo said he and partner Reto Berra can't be concerned about what happens at the other end of the ice.

"We can't really worry about scoring goals," Ramo said. "We have to focus on our own jobs. We still have to be ready, even if we score a lot of goals. I don't think it's any more pressure."

Canucks: Three games. Three regulation losses. One goal scored, 11 allowed. No wonder the Canucks are glad to be home after a three-game trip to Southern California and Arizona that extended their recent slide to eight losses in nine games.

Nine of the 11 goals against came in the penalty-filled loss at Anaheim. Of more concern are the 1-0 losses to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday and the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday. The Canucks were unable to capitalize on seven power plays in Phoenix, leaving coach John Tortorella frustrated as he prepares for the Flames.

"[We are] a team that is having a [heck] of a time making an offensive play," Tortorella said. "We don't make enough offensive plays, and we just don't do our job on the penalty kill when we have a couple of opportunities to get the puck out. They score a goal there. It's a game of those little details. It's been tough sledding as far as developing offense."

Who's hot: Ramo has split his past four decisions and earned his first NHL shutout in Carolina. … Canucks forward Zack Kassian scored the only goal on the road trip, and his nine goals in 43 games are a career high.

Injury report: Flames forwards Michael Cammalleri (concussion) and Curtis Glencross (ankle) are out. Defenseman Kris Russell (knee) returned to practice Friday and could be ready next week. Forward Blair Jones (meniscal tear) has been cleared to play and is expected to return after missing 11 games. … Canucks forward Mike Santorelli left the game against Phoenix with his right arm in a sling and isn't expected to play. Center Henrik Sedin (ribs) got postgame treatment after taking a slash Thursday. Goaltender Roberto Luongo (ankle), forward Alexandre Burrows (broken jaw) and defensemen Andrew Alberts (concussion) and Ryan Stanton (ankle) are out.

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