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Flames' Bennett could debut in key game vs. Oilers

by Derek Van Diest /

FLAMES (42-29-7) at OILERS (23-42-13)


EDMONTON -- Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley did not reveal if forward Sam Bennett would play against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC).

Calgary (42-29-7) is one point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division. The Kings play host to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

The Flames recalled Bennett, 18, from the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League on Friday. Kingston was eliminated by the North Bay Battalion in the first-round of the OHL playoffs Thursday, allowing Calgary to recall Bennett from his junior team.

“Everyone is a game-time decision,” Hartley said. “At the meeting this morning, we told everyone to be ready. We have four games left and that’s where we’re at. We’re going to put the best 20 players on the ice that we feel give us the best chance to win the game.”

Bennett was the fourth player selected in the 2014 NHL Draft. He underwent shoulder surgery in October and had been with the Flames during his rehabilitation. Once cleared to play, he was returned to his junior team in Kingston. Bennett scored 11 goals and 24 points in 11 regular-season games with the Frontenacs and had three assists in their four-game playoff loss to the Battalion.

“It’s all about making the best possible decision for the team, it’s not just about one individual,” Hartley said. “We’re looking at what we have right now, and that’s what we’re going to base our decision upon.”

The Flames are attempting to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

“I’m super excited and maybe a little nervous to possibly get a chance to play my first NHL game,” Bennett said. “This is what I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. I’m excited to see what coach says the closer it comes to game time. But I’m thrilled to be here.”

The Flames have an opportunity to sweep the season series against Edmonton (23-42-13) for the first time since the 2009-2010 season. Calgary won the past four games against the Oilers this season.

Edmonton will miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the ninth-consecutive season. They have lost two straight games, including an 8-2 loss against the Kings on Thursday.

“The last couple of games didn’t go the way we wanted to, obviously,” Oilers coach Todd Nelson said. “But, we’re back home and there was a lot of life at practice today, which I liked, especially coming off that loss against LA. But we have to get back doing the things we did at home before we left.”

Oilers defenseman David Musil will make his NHL debut, recalled from the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL on Friday.

Musil, 21, was the 31st player selected in the 2011 NHL Draft, taken in the second round by Edmonton.

“I’m excited coming up here and a little nervous, but it’s a good nervous,” Musil said. “I just have to keep things simple, play the way I play best and concentrate on myself rather than the other things around it.”

Goaltender Ben Scrivens will start for Edmonton; Karri Ramo will start for the Flames.

Here are the projected lineups:


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - David Jones

Mason Raymond - Markus Granlund - Joe Colborne

Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Drew Shore

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Deryk Engelland - TJ Brodie

Corey Potter - David Schlemko

Karri Ramo

Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Michael Ferland, Tyler Wotherspoon, Sam Bennett

Injured: Mark Giordano (bicep), Paul Byron (lower body), Ladislav Smid (upper body), Raphael Diaz (lower body), Josh Jooris (undisclosed).


Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Teddy Purcell - Derek RoyNail Yakupov

Taylor HallAnton LanderAndrew Miller

Luke GazdicMatt HendricksRob Klinkhammer

Oscar Klefbom - Justin Schultz

Martin MarincinDavid Musil

Keith AulieBrandon Davidson

Ben Scrivens

Tyler Bunz

Scratched: Matt Fraser

Injured: Tyler Pitlick (lacerated spleen), Viktor Fasth (knee), Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Andrew Ference (upper body), Mark Fayne (shoulder), Boyd Gordon (back), Nikita Nikitin (foot), Richard Bachman (personal)

Status report: Bachman left the Oilers to deal with a death in the family and has still not returned to Edmonton. … Fasth skated with the Oilers on Saturday, but is not expected back before the end of the season. … Wotherspoon was recalled by the Flames on Friday, but is not expected to get into the lineup against Edmonton.

Who's hot: Hudler has two goals and four assists in his past three games. … Monahan, 20, scored his 30th goal of the year in a 4-1 loss against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. He is the youngest player in franchise history to score 30 goals in a season. … Eberle has three goals and one assists in his past five games.

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