CARRYING IT FORWARD
The Calgary Flames are coming off an emotional come-from-behind victory over one of the top teams in the National Hockey League prior to the Christmas break. They trailed the St. Louis Blues 3-1 mid-way through the third period on Monday and rallied with a pair of goals, including a marker from Mark Giordano with 4.2 seconds left in regulation, to draw even and eventually prevail in a shootout.
Giordano’s young squad is hoping they can seize that momentum use it to find more success after the three-day break.
“For us I know it was a pretty cool experience in here against St. Louis,” the Flames captain said. “It was a great buzz and we hope to carry it over. It’s only been three days so hopefully we tonight.”
ANOTHER BATTLE OF ALBERTA
There’s nothing like a tilt with the Edmonton Oilers to keep things interesting for Calgary.
The northern Alberta rival has provided them with some interesting and emotional contests which haven’t lacked any drama this season.
In the opening game between the two clubs this season, the Flames held a comfortable 2-0 lead to open the final frame. The Oilers rallied in the third, striking four times to come out on top 4-2.
The second meeting on Dec. 7th saw the Flames hold on to a 1-0 for most of the night until Taylor Hall tied the game with just 11 seconds left in the third. The Flames, however, would prevail in overtime to draw the season series even going into tonight.
“It's two young teams so whenever you deal with a lack of experience you can see some pretty wild plays,” said Flames coach Bob Hartley. “They have some great kids and we also have some great kids so I’m sure it’s going to be another great Battle of Alberta.”
Matt Stajan admitted that despite Edmonton's record, the Flames must be aware of the young Oilers.
“Their team is playing with nothing to lose right now and they came off of a pretty big win before the break, said Stajan. “ It doesn’t matter where either team is or how they’re doing. Whenever you play in the battle of Alberta both teams are going to come out and give everything they got. We’ll be ready so hopefully everybody has all the rust out and we can jump on them quickly.”
STAJAN FEEING FINE
Stajan was the recipient of a nasty knee-on-knee collision with David Backes late in overtime against the Blues on Monday. The 30-year-old veteran left the game immediately showing his frustration as he slammed his stick while exiting to the locker room.
He'll be ready to go Friday night.
“You know what, the game is so fast,” Stajan said. “I know him (Backes) a little bit, he plays hard and I don’t think there was any intent there but it’s a reaction hit.
“Luckily there was no serious injury or anything but we got to move past it. It was a bang-bang play, he was trying to hit me and I tried to dodge the hit and his leg came through which happens a lot.
“He sent me a text after to see if I was okay which was nice of him but obviously I was just frustrated with the play and the way it went down in the heat of the moment.”
Stajan has been a steady presence in the lineup this season and has brought consistency to the centre ice position on most nights. Hartley said the Flames work ethic starts with guys like him.
“He’s another great veteran that we have and everyone is talking about our work ethic but it starts with those guys,” Hartley stated. “Staj is a big part of this team, he’s doing a great job, he is a pro and a competitor.”
“He understands our situation here and he wants to be a solution. There’s never an excuse with Matt Stajan, when he plays good he knows and when he plays bad he is the first one to say. When you deal with individuals like this it makes our job way easier.”
NO LINEUP CHANGES
Hartley won't tinker with what worked on Monday against the Blues.
Reto Berra will once again get the start in goal for the Flames. All four lines and three defencive pairing with remain intact for the battle against the Oilers tonight.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Galiardi needs seven points for 100.
"20 Gio’s on the same team would be a boring team to coach."
-Hartley commenting on the professionalism and importance of Flames captain Mark Giordano.
Today's game will be aired on Sportsnet Flames and Sportsnet 960 The FAN at 6:00 PM MST.
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