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Stempniak set to return tonight

Sunday, 18.03.2012 / 1:41 PM / Calgary Flames Budweiser Game Day
By Jeff Clemens
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Stempniak set to return tonight

CALGARY, AB -- After missing 21 games with an ankle injury the Flames are happy to welcome back Lee Stempniak to the lineup.

Stempniak was deemed healthy enough to return and will suit up tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“It’s tough being out, obviously everyone wants play and help the team, the hardest part is mentally knowing you can’t be out there and being patient to make sure you can be back on time,” said forward Lee Stempniak.

“Emotionally you’re really excited to be back, the games are that important and the standings are changing by the hour so you want to be in there and make a difference.”

Stempniak’s return comes when the Flames are on a strong home game winning streak, having won all five games played at home in March. The 29 year old Stempniak comes back to the team with seven years of NHL experience and brings the injury plagued Flames one step closer to having their full lineup back.

“We get one guy back so that’s encouraging, hopefully we’re slowly getting through it and these guys back will provide us with some experience,” said Flames Head Coach Brent Sutter.

“When you get Stempniak back you change things up a bit and it gives you another line that has some great NHL experience, putting Moss in the middle will give us a little more size down the middle with an experienced guy.”

Stempniak will be paired with David Moss and Blake Comeau, also just returning from injury, as the Flames third line.

“A bit bigger guys that will play physical and skate well, I think we can use some speed to get on the forecheck,” said Stempniak.

“I think we’ll have a lot of chances off the rush, recover a lot of pucks and spend a lot of time in the offensive zone.”