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Gaudreau-Monahan-Lindholm line to be broken up by Flames against Stars

Western Conference leaders seek better communication with new combinations

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames are expected to shuffle their forwards when they host the Dallas Stars at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; SN1, FS-SW, NHL.TV).

The Flames (47-22-7) lead the San Jose Sharks by six points for first in the Pacific Division and Western Conference, but coach Bill Peters is hoping to freshen up his forwards heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Flames, who have clinched a playoff berth, lost 3-0 to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday but had won their three previous games.

"Different look, right?" Peters said. "Different look for everybody. It's impossible to split it up and keep certain lines together. We talked about doing that. We could go back to that too. We're going to talk about it a little bit more here this afternoon. If you're going to shake it up, let's shake it up.

"Freshen some things up a little bit too. What it does, anytime you have a line change and everything else, you have to communicate way more. Everything's not so instinctual and reading off each other. You really have to talk on the bench and be engaged in what's going on.

"I think that'll be beneficial for us coming down the stretch the last few games."

Calgary's top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm will be separated.

Each has established his NHL career-high in points this season. Gaudreau leads the Flames with 92 points (35 goals, 57 assists), Lindholm is second with 77 points (27 goals, 50 assists), and Monahan is tied for third with Matthew Tkachuk with 76 points (31 goals, 45 assists).

Video: CBJ@CGY: Gaudreau wrists one by Bobrovsky

But since the NHL All-Star break, Gaudreau and Lindholm each has six goals in the past 25 games, and Monahan has four goals in 23 games.

"I think our game went a little stale," Lindholm said. "The way our line played the last month or so hasn't been the way we want to play, like the way we played earlier in the season. You always want to play with your line for a while, but it might be a good way to change. You never know. It might come back together later on. We'll see.

"A couple changes here and there never hurt."

Gaudreau skated on left wing with Derek Ryan and Michael Frolik in practice Monday. Monahan was the center with James Neal and Austin Czarnik. Lindholm, a right wing, was with Mikael Backlund and Tkachuk.

Mark Jankowski was the center with Andrew Mangiapane and Garnet Hathaway on the fourth line.

"We're not playing great and when that happens things have to change," Monahan said. "Right now, they have to change.

"We've played together basically all year. We had a long stretch where we were really good, and then myself, I haven't been good as of late, and if you get a new look with some different guys and get your game going again I think that's huge."

Video: NJD@CGY: Gaudreau sets up Monahan for sixth point

Calgary has six games remaining in the regular season.

"If someone told me we'd be up six points with six games left in the West and Pacific I would take it right away," Lindholm said. "We want to get a good feeling coming into the playoffs here and win as many games as possible and boost up our confidence here.

"We take it game by game and get good habits before the playoffs."

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