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Flames want to relax, play smarter vs. Stars

by Aaron Vickers

STARS (12-13-5) at FLAMES (17-14-2)


CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames insist they don't need to work harder to snap a six-game losing streak. They just need to work a little smarter.

The Flames, who last won Dec. 4, plan to simplify things when they host the Dallas Stars at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

"Let's relax a little bit. That's our message to our guys," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "I really believe that they want to achieve so well, they want to perform so well, that sometimes more is not better. We're pressing, we're pushing. But sometimes it's not always the right situation.

"It's just a matter of getting back to our game. Let's cool down. The thing that I appreciate the most from our guys is the effort. But right now let's put a little bit more focus and poise in our efforts. I think that we're going to get back to the team that we were."

Prior to the slump, the Flames had a Western Conference-leading 78 goals. Only the Pittsburgh Penguins (81) and Tampa Bay Lightning (91) had scored more.

But 10 goals during its past six games has Calgary searching for more punch.

"Anytime you haven't scored in a while you want to," said Flames forward Joe Colborne, who is searching for his first goal of the season. "The fact that we've lost a few games in a row here makes you want to get it even more.

"We want it so badly right now that we're trying to score a goal every shift when you have to just be smart and pick your chances. I think that was backfiring on us a little bit. We were giving up too many chances, especially to some of their top guys. In this League if you're doing that they're going to capitalize."

The Stars will have Kari Lehtonen in goal Friday.

Lehtonen is coming off a 27-save shutout in Dallas' 2-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. He's allowed seven goals in his past four starts.

"I think that nowadays with teams, you look at successful teams and they have depth with scoring down the lineup and you also need a good goalie in net," said Stars forward Tyler Seguin, who leads the NHL with 23 goals and is tied for the League lead with 38 points. "You need those big saves at key times. It's just how the game is nowadays.

"[Kari] is that goalie that can do that and he definitely did that for us last game."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Tyler Seguin

Curtis McKenzie - Jason Spezza - Erik Cole

Antoine Roussel - Travis Morin - Ales Hemsky

Shawn Horcoff - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski - Jason Demers

Jyrki Jokipakka - Trevor Daley

Jamie Oleksiak - John Klingberg

Kari Lehtonen

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Travis Moen

Suspended: Ryan Garbutt

Injured: Patrick Eaves (ankle), Patrik Nemeth (arm), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Jordie Benn (illness)


Joe Colborne - Sean Monahan - David Jones

Johnny Gaudreau - Josh Jooris - Jiri Hudler

Curtis Glencross - Markus Granlund - Paul Byron

Mason Raymond - Lance Bouma - Brandon Bollig

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Raphael Diaz - Deryk Engelland

Jonas Hiller

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Corey Potter, Matt Stajan, Brian McGrattan

Injured: Sam Bennett (shoulder surgery), Mikael Backlund (abdomen), Ladislav Smid (upper body)

Status report: Goligoski didn’t take the morning skate but will play. … Bollig is expected to dress for Calgary after being a healthy scratch in the past two games and in four of the past six.

Who's hot: Though he was held off the scoresheet against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, Seguin has five goals and seven points in his past five games and 16 goals in his past 17 games. … Hudler, who leads the Flames with 13 goals, has points in four straight and a goal in back-to-back games.

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