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Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Blue Jackets

Notes from the Flames pre-game skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 8:45 AM MT / News
By Torie Peterson  - CalgaryFlames.com (@toriepeterson)
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Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Blue Jackets


Head coach Bob Hartley has confirmed he will go with the lineup he utilized in Monday's 5-4 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets.

"Maybe one or two minor changes; guys changing positions or stuff like this. I felt that those guys gave us a good game and I didn't see any reasons to make a change."

The line adjustments Hartley referenced are as follows: Joe Colborne skated in between TJ Galiardi and David Jones at practice while Mikael Backlund centered Lance Bouma and Brian McGrattan. On defence, Chris Butler skated with Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell was partnered with TJ Brodie.

Reto Berra gets the call in net tonight. The goaltender is coming off a great performance in Winnipeg, where he made 43 saves and picked up his first win in an NHL shootout.

"He's showing us some great things," Hartley said of the Swiss netminder. "I knew him before he got to Calgary. I know he's capable of big performances. Right now, he's learning North American hockey, especially the size of the rink. That makes a big difference for a goalie.

"He’s learning from playing, some valuable experiences. He’s learning also the shooters. It’s a combination of playing him, doing his homework, lots of video work with Clint [Malarchuk]. I think he's showing us some great things."


The Columbus Blue Jackets are going to be an ornery bunch heading into tonight's game. They fell 7-0 to the Edmonton Oilers last night and put just 14 shots on Devan Dubnyk in the loss.

The Flames know that the Blue Jackets are looking to rebound from that loss and will be coming at them at full steam. However, that doesn't change their game plan in the slightest. They will continue to play their game but know they need to be on their toes right from the get-go.

"Our situation right now, just like I told you last week, our main focus is on our team," Hartley stated. "But ... I warned the players this morning, we know exactly what happened last night in Edmonton. No one in the NHL likes to get spanked like [that].

"On our side, we don't control what the Blue Jackets do. We control what we're going to bring to this game. That's where our focus is."


Sean Monahan has taken 320 face-offs this year, leading the Flames. He has won 44.7 per cent (143) of his draws and while he is satisfied with his development thus far, he is still spending a lot of time working on taking face-offs during practice and has been pouring over video to hone his skills.

"It's something I've been working on," he said. "It's something I'm going to get better it and it's something I'm going to continue to [work on]."

Monahan skated in between his usual linemates, Sven Baertschi and Jiri Hudler, this morning and is expected to start the game on that line.


"You're not going to score every game. Nobody does, even the best players in the league. You've got a find a way to do little things and he's doing that. He's around the puck ... he plays more like a veteran than a young guy." - Matt Stajan on Monahan's play this year


All-time vs. the Blue Jackets: 22-20-5

All-time vs. the Blue Jackets in Calgary: 14-5-4

Last 10 games vs. the Blue Jackets: 4-4-2

Last 10 games vs. the Blue Jackets in Calgary: 6-2-2

Dennis Wideman (1 goal, 2 assists) and Hudler (3 assists) led the Flames in scoring in 3 games against the Blue Jackets last season. Backlund trailed the pair with 2 goals in 3 games.


Chris Butler (56), Kris Russell (53) and Wideman (40) lead the Flames in blocked shots through 21 games played this year.

Wideman leads the Flames in shots on net with 53. Winger Lee Stempniak has 50 to his name while Monahan and Russell have fired 43 on net this year.

Hudler is averaging a point-per-game at home this year. The forward has registered 1 goal and 8 assists in 9 games at the Scotiabank Saddledome.


Tonight's game will be broadcast on Sportsnet West (television) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan (radio) at 8:00 PM MST.

Flames prospect Emile Poirier will suit up for the QMHL in Game 2 of the 2013 Subway Super Series. That game will precede the Flames-Blue Jackets battle on Sportsnet West, starting at 5:00 PM MST. Poirier's fellow Flames prospect Rushan Rafikov may also play tonight, jumping into Russia's lineup.