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Flames' Stajan OK after knee-on-knee collision

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames center Matt Stajan couldn't dodge David Backes but he did dodge a bullet.

Stajan won't miss any time after a knee-on-knee collision with Backes during overtime of Calgary's 4-3 shootout victory against the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

"I feel OK," Stajan said. "I've taken a lot of hard hits here lately but the three days off, I think it did a lot. Luckily there was no serious ligament damage in any of the plays. It's just bruises and aches and pains that you recover with time. I'm excited to get back at it and hopefully heal up as we go here."

With one minute remaining in overtime, Stajan had the puck and was cutting across the Blues' blue line. Backes went in to deliver a blow to Stajan but caught him with a knee-on-knee hit instead. Backes was assessed a minor penalty on the play while Stajan immediately left the ice, slamming his stick against the boards before exiting.

Fortunately for Stajan the three-day holiday break gave him plenty of time to heal.

It also gave him a chance to see a replay of Backes' hit.

"It was a bang-bang play," Stajan said. "He was trying to hit me. I tried to dodge the hit. It happens a lot. He sent me a text after to see if I was OK which was nice of him. I never thought there was any intent. Obviously just frustrated at the time with the way it went down and in the heat of the moment.

"You know what? The game is so fast. I know him a little bit. He plays hard. I don't think there was any intent there. It's a reaction play. Luckily there's no serious injury or anything. We've got to move past it."

The Flames appear to have dodged another injury Friday. During the team's morning skate, forward Paul Byron crashed hard into the end boards during a drill. He immediately left the ice but did return to practice.

"He should be all right," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "He's sore but he's a warrior. The medical staff will work on him and we should see him in the lineup."

Byron has five assists and seven points in 12 games since being recalled from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League on Nov. 30.

Here are the projected lineups for the Flames and Oilers on Friday:


Mike Cammalleri - Mikael Backlund - Paul Byron

TJ Galiardi - Matt Stajan - Lee Stempniak

Jiri Hudler - Joe Colborne - David Jones

Lance Bouma - Sean Monahan - Brian McGrattan

Mark Giordano - Derek Smith

Chris Butler - TJ Brodie

Christopher Breen - Shane O'Brien

Reto Berra

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Derek Smith

Injured: Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain), Kris Russell (MCL sprain), Dennis Wideman (broken hand), Blair Jones (meniscal tear)


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - David Perron

Jesse Joensuu - Sam Gagner - Jordan Eberle

Ryan Smyth - Boyd Gordon - Ales Hemsky

Luke Gazdic - Anton Lander - Nail Yakupov

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Nick Schultz - Corey Potter

Anton Belov - Jeff Petry

Devan Dubnyk

Ilya Bryzgalov

Scratched: Roman Horak, Martin Marincin

Injured: Mark Arcobello (ribs), Ryan Jones (head), Philip Larsen (illness)

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