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Improved Flames continue road trip vs. Panthers

by Sean McCullen

FLAMES (32-38-7) at PANTHERS (27-42-8)


Last 10: Calgary 5-5-0; Florida 2-7-1

Season series: This is the second and final game between the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers. Calgary beat Florida 4-3 in a shootout at Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 22.

Big story: Neither team will be heading to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Flames come to South Florida looking to continue their strong play since the NHL returned from its break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The Flames are 10-9-0 since the break, with five of the wins coming against teams that have qualified for or are in position to make the playoffs.

Team Scope:

Flames: Calgary lost the first two of its five-game road trip before beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 on Thursday, the Flames' latest victory against a playoff-bound team. Curtis Glencross scored twice late in the third period, including an empty-netter, to seal the win.

The Flames jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals 15 seconds apart by Mike Cammalleri and Kevin Westgarth midway through the first period.

"That start is huge," coach Bob Hartley said. "You get two goals on the road off your forecheck, this is great. And we managed to stay in the game. We knew that they would keep coming. They are one of the fastest teams in the League, if not the fastest team, and they applied pressure. Our guys deserve lots of credit."

Panthers: Goalie Roberto Luongo will return against Calgary after he practiced Thursday. He has missed three games with an upper-body injury sustained when Carolina Hurricanes forward Radek Dvorak crashed into him March 27.

"I feel good,'' Luongo said, according to The Miami Herald. "I've been skating on my own the past three days, ramping things up each day. This was a good progression."

Luongo is 4-5-1 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .923 save percentage since he was acquired in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks on March 4.

The Panthers have lost four straight, including a 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday, and seven of their past eight. They will play their five remaining games at BB&T Center, where they are 14-17-5.

Who's hot: Cammalleri has two goals and three assists in his past four games. … Panthers center Brandon Pirri has a goal in two straight games.

Injury report: Calgary defensemen Dennis Wideman (upper body) and Ladislav Smid (upper body) and forwards David Jones (shoulder) and Markus Granlund (shoulder) are day-to-day. … Florida defenseman Alex Petrovic (upper body) and forwards Aleksander Barkov (knee) and Tomas Kopecky (upper body) are on injured reserve. Forward Brad Boyes (back) is out; he played five shifts Tuesday after being a game-time decision. Defenseman Tom Gilbert (groin) is out for the season. Forward Jonathan Huberdeau (concussion), who has not played since March 16, returned to practice Thursday, but is not expected to play Friday.

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