Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Coyotes
CERVENKA BACK IN THE LINEUP
Czech forward Roman Cervenka was held out of Saturday's tilt as a healthy scratch as the coaching staff felt he needed to sit back and observe a game to gain a better handle on what is needed to play at the NHL level.
"I'd like to see more consistent effort," head coach Bob Hartley explained. "I'm giving him the benefit of doubt but we're in the business to win games. Here's a young man that is coming in that didn't play very much because of the blood clot.
"His conditioning was not great."
Hartley noted that in addition to playing his first season in the NHL and recovering from an injury, Cervenka also has a lot going on away from the rink. He is still working through the language barrier - using Jiri Hudler as a translator as he continues to learn English - and has a one-month old baby back home in the Czech Republic.
In 12 games this year, Cervenka has recorded two goals and six points.
AVENGING MONDAY'S LOSS
Six days ago, the Flames were playing in Phoenix in their second game in a back-to-back scenario and their performance in Arizona was not something anyone inside of the locker room was pleased with. They fell 4-0 to the Coyotes on Monday and looked flat in the first and third periods.
After the game, Hartley questioned if his team had "taken the option" on the game and the squad wants to ensure they don't have a repeat of Monday's loss.
"They beat us pretty solidly," Mark Giordano said with a shake of his head. "We have to try to do the same to them tonight. There's a lot of things that go into it: we're at home, we have to get our home record a lot better than it is. I think the most important thing is that they're a team that's four points ahead of us in the standings and in a position that we want to get to.
"We have to look at it like it's a big swing if we take the points, especially in regulation."
As of this morning, the Flames sit 14th in the Western Conference with a 6-7-3 record but there are nine teams within four points of each other, battling it out for playoff spots. Phoenix, San Jose and Dallas currently occupy the sixth, seventh and eighth spots respectively but all three teams have 19 points on the year.
With a win tonight, the Flames will be just two points shy of a postseason position and will get back to .500. The magnitude of both is not lost on the players.
"It's really important," Lee Stempniak said. "Phoenix is a team that we'll be fighting with for a playoff spot and they're a good team. They're solid. They get great goaltending and they have really good players.
"We need to start winning games. We can't just win one and then lose one or two. We need to start winning multiple games in a row. This is a good test for us."
BACK-TO-BACK STARTS FOR JOEY MAC
Joey MacDonald, who stopped 30 of 31 shots on Saturday, will start in net again tonight for the Flames. The 33 year-old has played in four games since Calgary claimed him off of waivers, going 2-2-0 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.55 goals-against-average.
Akim Aliu will not play tonight as he is day-to-day with a lower body injury.
RETRO JERSEYS BACK TONIGHT
For the second time in as many nights, the Flames will wear their retro jerseys. The squad will don them three more times this season: Mar. 3 vs. Vancouver, Apr. 3 vs. Edmonton and Apr. 10 vs. Vancouver.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"You win a game and you can't sit on it. Especially in the position we're in. It was a good win last night, we did a lot of good things but this is another big game ... There is no explanation for not putting games together. We have to start doing that." - Giordano
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Steve Bégin will play his 500th game tonight.
Curtis Glencross needs 1 assist for 100 and 1 point for 200.
Matt Stajan needs 4 points for 300 and 11 assists for 200.
Cory Sarich needs 4 points for 150 and 5 games for 900.