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Flames chase first win streak, try to solve Penguins

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com

PENGUINS (9-4-0) at FLAMES (4-9-1)

TV: CBC, SN, ROOT

CALGARY -- The struggling Calgary Flames will attempt to win back-to-back games for the first time this season as they finish a two-game homestand against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

"I think overall our game just hasn't been good enough, to be honest, in the first 14 games," Flames captain Mark Giordano said. "There's been spots and at times our game has been really good. We just have to find our consistency. The good thing is we're not too far out of it and we can make that ground back up over the next 68 games. I just feel like we have to keep going in that direction. We took a step the other night defensively and we've got to keep going in that direction."

The Flames (4-9-1), last in the NHL in allowing 4.00 goals against per game, come off a 2-1 overtime victory Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers to snap a stretch of six straight games in which they've surrendered four or more goals.

The Penguins (9-4-0) are 25th in League scoring with 2.23 goals per game.

"We're not treating them any differently than we have in the past and obviously they've had some high-scoring games with us," Flames forward Joe Colborne said. "I thought last game was our best defensive game for 60 minutes. We did a good job taking (Jakub) Voracek and (Claude) Giroux out of the game for the most part. Now it's going to be a tough task because they have two real strong lines. We're going to have to figure out how we can shut down both of them."

Calgary hasn't been able to do that in the past.

Pittsburgh, winners of a season-high six straight games and nine of the past 10, has outscored Calgary by a 29-12 margin during a nine-game winning streak. The Penguins last lost to the Flames on Dec. 3, 2005.

"I remember there's been a few times that we've kind of got behind really early on these guys and they kind of took it away from us even before the end of the first or the second," Colborne said. "We know how potent their offense can be. Just because they aren't putting up the numbers at the moment doesn't mean they can't go off at any time."

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh's expected starter, has a personal seven-game winning streak versus the Flames and is 8-1-0 with a 1.49 goals-against average, .946 save percentage and two shutouts all-time against Calgary.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has six goals and nine points in his past four games against the Flames.

"It's going to be a fun game to be a part of," Giordano said. "Anytime on a Saturday night and you've got Crosby coming in, I think there's a little bit more of a buzz at the rink. It will be a fun game, but it's definitely a big challenge with those guys because from shift-to-shift they can really turn it on."

Here are the projected lineups:

PENGUINS

Eric Fehr - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist

David Perron - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel

Chris Kunitz - Nick Bonino - Beau Bennett

Daniel Sprong - Matt Cullen - Sergei Plotnikov

Ian Cole - Kris Letang

Olli Maatta - Rob Scuderi

Ben Lovejoy - Brian Dumoulin

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Injured: Bryan Rust (undisclosed), Pascal Dupuis (undisclosed)

Scratched: Adam Clendening

FLAMES

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik

Mason Raymond - Derek Grant - Josh Jooris

Joe Colborne - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Deryk Engelland - Dougie Hamilton

Karri Ramo

Joni Ortio

Injured: Lance Bouma (broken leg), Micheal Ferland (lower body), Jonas Hiller (lower body)

Scratched: Brandon Bollig, Ladislav Smid

Status update: The Penguins did not hold a skate Saturday morning after a 2-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. Dupuis will be held out of the game against Calgary for precautionary reasons after experiencing symptoms that may or may not be related to his blood clot history. … Raymond is expected to skate in place of Bollig on the fourth line as part of the Flames' only lineup change.

Who's hot: Kessel has three points in his past two games. Crosby has points in back-to-back games. … Frolik has three goals and two assists as part of a three-game point streak.

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