Morning Skate Report: Flames vs.Sharks
When questioned about Alex Tanguay's status for tonight's clash with the Sharks, head coach Brent Sutter offered an impish grin before responding cheekily.
"He slept well last night. He had a good breakfast this morning and he came to the rink and he was good this morning.
"In all likelihood, he'll play tonight."
It's been a frustrating month for the 32 year-old. Sitting out with an upper body injury, he's been forced to watch his teammates jostle for a playoff position from his couch and he cannot wait to get back into the game.
"I'm looking forward to it," he smiled. "It's been awhile and I'm anxious to get back.
"Just try to work my hardest and try to help the team keep going."
"I've played with TK in Montreal. Jonesy, I've seen him in Tampa and I've seen him work here. I think they're guys that I know exactly where they're going to be at on ice, what they're going to do and how they're going to play."
Tanguay knows there is going to be an adjustment period due to the fact he has missed 15 contests but is confident he can get back into the game quickly.
"Conditioning is certainly going to be an issue when you miss a month," he conceded. "For the most part, you don't do a whole lot ... but I've been working extremely hard.
"I know I'm going to have to work hard over the course of the break and over the course of the next few weeks but I'm hoping that I can use my experience to find a way to help the team."
San Jose is on a three-game losing skid, being outscored in that span 10-6, but the Flames know the team has far too much talent to even consider taking tonight's tilt lightly.
"They played hard," Blake Comeau said of the Sharks 2-1 SO defeat in Edmonton last night. "They got a lot of shots and chances.
"They're a good team. They've got a lot of depth. They're jockeying for a playoff position as well so we don't expect anything to be easy. We've got to come out and play hard and play physical."
While the Sharks winless streak has put a dent in their lead in the standings, they still remain in the postseason picture due to the points they amassed earlier in the year. Defenceman Cory Sarich noted the Flames do not have the liberty San Jose does and that every game has to have a playoff-like feel to it.
"Right now is a crucial time for us," Sarich said. "We have to pick up points. We don't want to be waiting until we're down to a final number. We want to do it now."
Miikka Kiprusoff needs two wins for 300. He also needs three games to become the Flames all-time leader in games played by a goaltender.
Matt Stajan needs three goals for 100.
Tom Kostopoulos needs seven assists for 100.
Scott Hannan needs nine points for 200.