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Flames' Hiller gets turn in goalie rotation vs. Canucks

by Kevin Woodley

FLAMES (0-1-0) at CANUCKS (1-0-0)


VANCOUVER -- Jonas Hiller gets his turn in the Calgary Flames three-goaltender rotation Saturday knowing a win against the Vancouver Canucks will keep him in the net.

Karri Ramo allowed five goals on 44 shots in a 5-1 loss to the Canucks in Calgary on Wednesday. With goalie Joni Ortio also still with the Flames and coach Bob Hartley talking openly about a win-and-you're-in philosophy, Hiller is aware how much he plays will depend on how well he plays. But he said he's trying not to focus too much on the result.

"I'm definitely excited to get the chance to play and I'll do my best to stay in the net as long as I can," Hiller said. "I know if I want to play more games I have to play at my best every night, which I don't think is out of the ordinary. I'm not too worried about winning. I want to focus on playing well and doing the things I can take care of and hopefully it's enough to win."

Hartley said the game-by-game goaltending decision won't rest entirely on results. A good performance in a loss could be enough to keep that goalie in net. But the only way to guarantee another start is to backstop a win.

"They are aware if they win they keep going," Hartley said.

With an extra goaltender in the rotation, a loss could mean an even longer wait before getting another chance, especially if one of the other goalies gets on a roll. But Hartley praised Hiller, Ramo and Ortio for how they are handling the situation.

"That facilitates our job a lot because three goalies could be a nightmare," Hartley said.

Hartley will make one change to his forward group after the Flames were outshot 44-30 by the Canucks in the season-opener and mostly failed to establish the aggressive forecheck that played such a big role in eliminating the Canucks in six games in their Western Conference First Round series in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Forward Mason Raymond returns to the lineup after clearing waivers last week and watching the first game as a healthy scratch.

"We had many talks and Mason knows what he has to bring to the table to be a regular member of this hockey club," Hartley said.

The Canucks will dress the same lineup as Wednesday. Those players expect a harder forecheck from the Flames. That could test a pair of newcomers on defense, free agent addition Matt Bartkowski and 22-year-old rookie Ben Hutton, who were a big part of breaking the pressure Wednesday.

"[The Flames] probably think they could forecheck better than they did last game. But for us we like to break out as a five-man unit, and our [defensemen] are skating the puck out," forward Alexandre Burrows said. "I thought [Hutton] made a few nice breakouts and Bartkowski skated the puck out of trouble a few times. So we have guys that are skating more with the puck to break the puck out now."

Here are the projected lineups:


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Mason Raymond - Sam Bennett - Michael Frolik

Brandon Bollig - Mikael Backlund - Lance Bouma

Michael Ferland - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Mark Giordano - Dougie Hamilton

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Deryk Engelland - Brett Kulak

Jonas Hiller

Karri Ramo

Injured: TJ Brodie (hand), Ladislav Smid (neck), Joe Colborne (wrist)

Scratched: Josh Jooris, Joni Ortio


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Brandon Sutter

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Radim Vrbata

Alexandre Burrows - Jared McCann - Jannik Hansen

Brandon Prust - Adam Cracknell - Derek Dorsett

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis - Matt Bartkowski

Ben Hutton - Luca Sbisa

Ryan Miller

Richard Bachman

Injured: Chris Higgins (foot), Jacob Markstrom (hamstring)

Scratched: Jake Virtanen, Yannick Weber

Status Report: Markstrom, who was injured during the final practice before the season started, will be re-evaluated in a week, according to Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, but could miss three weeks. … Smid, who had neck surgery in February and is expected to be out until mid-October, is traveling and skating with the Flames.

Who's Hot: Hudler, who scored the Flames' goal Wednesday, had four points in four games against the Canucks last season. … Daniel Sedin had one goal and two assists against the Flames on Wednesday, giving him 82 points in 80 games against them.

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