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Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Coyotes

Thursday, 15.03.2012 / 12:16 PM / Calgary Flames Budweiser Game Day
By Torie Peterson  - CalgaryFlames.com (@toriepeterson)
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Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Coyotes

TAKING ON THE 'YOTES

There isn't a lot of open ice in games against the Coyotes and two of the last three games they have played against Calgary have been decided by a single goal. The Flames are expecting another tight game tonight and know they have to be very responsible in the neutral and defensive zones.

"That's how games feel against them sometimes and then they capitalize on a mistake," blueliner Cory Sarich said. "We can't allow that to happen tonight. We need to be driving pucks deep, limit turnovers and spend more time in their end."

The Coyotes played in Vancouver last night, beating the Canucks 5-4. Given that and the fact the team will lose an hour coming to Calgary, the Flames need to jump on them early in order to wear them down.

"We've gone out before and we've been caught in playing their game," Sarich said. "Not enough intensity in our game at the start. I think that's got to change tonight. I think the way we have been starting games, it's been a lot better.

"If we come out and do that and then stick to that, we should be alright. We can't go out there and kind of get into a bit of a lull. We've got to come out hot."

FITTING RIGHT IN

Sven Baertschi has made quite the impression on his coaches, teammates and fans since joining the team on an emergency call-up. He has scored two goals in three games and has seen his minutes increase in each outing.

"I feel more comfortable out there," he said. "I'm kind of used to the system and everything now so it makes a lot of things (easier)."

When asked about his experience with the team, Baertschi's smile threatened to take over his face and stated he wished he could stay for the duration of the season.

"It's been good so far. It's a great experience. I enjoy every single day here."

MAKING STRIDES

Forwards Lance Bouma and Lee Stempniak skated with the team this morning, signalling the two wingers are getting closer to returning to the lineup.

"To be able to get out there and skate felt good," Bouma smiled. "We'll take it day by day and see how it feels as it goes on."

The rugged winger indicated he will not play tonight but believes he will be able to suit up in the near future.

"Today was good. The practice was good ... I'm not quite there yet but getting close."

Bouma has been sidelined for the last four games with an upper body injury.

Stempniak has missed quite a bit of time and is anxious to get back into the lineup. The 29 year-old suffered a high ankle sprain on Jan. 31 in a game against the Detroit Red Wings.

"I skated the last week on my own and today, with the team, I felt good," Stempniak said. "I did some extra skating at the end to work on conditioning. We'll see how it is tomorrow and we'll go from there."

There is no chance Stempniak will dress tonight but like Bouma, he feels his return is on the horizon.

"More day-to-day then week-to-week. I feel good and I think at some point, do more practice and more and more contact. We'll see how it is and at that point it will be the coaches decision."