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Flames' Ramo returning to net vs. Panthers

by Brian Hunter

FLAMES (8-5-2) at PANTHERS (4-3-4)


Season series: The Calgary Flames swept two games from the Florida Panthers last season. Flames forward Sean Monahan scored in the sixth round of a shootout for a 4-3 win at Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 22. They also won 2-1 at BB&T Center on April 4 in the 800th NHL game for Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo.

Flames team scope: Goaltender Karri Ramo will get the start for Calgary. He alternated starts with Jonas Hiller during the first 10 games of the season, but then Hiller got hot and started five in a row. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored four goals on 32 shots against Hiller in a 5-2 Flames loss Thursday, and now Ramo will play for the first time since Oct. 25. He won his first two starts this season but is 0-2-1 in his past three. "I said, 'Hey, now you have the ball. You run with it.' It's all about winning hockey games," coach Bob Hartley said, according to the Flames website. "It's a matter of performing. I love it because it's a very healthy competition between the two." Heading into games Friday, the Flames led the NHL with 284 blocked shots. They had two of the top three and three of the top seven individual leaders in blocked shots in defensemen Kris Russell (44, second), Mark Giordano (42, third) and Dennis Wideman (33, seventh).

Panthers team scope: This is the start of a three-game homestand for Florida, which played seven of its first 11 on the road. Third-year forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who has missed the past three games with the flu, looked good in practice Friday and should return to the lineup, coach Gerard Gallant said, according to the Miami Herald. Florida gave up four even-strength goals in a 4-1 loss Thursday at the Philadelphia Flyers after allowing eight even-strength goals in its first 10 games. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they've scored 10 even-strength goals this season; entering the weekend their 16 non-shootout goals are one more than the Buffalo Sabres for last in the League.

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