Tuesday, February 28, 2017

{allcanada} OHL: Vallati scores winner as Rangers topple Storm


KITCHENER, Ont. — Giovanni Vallati's goal early in the third stood as the winner and the Kitchener Rangers withstood a late Guelph rally to edge the Storm 4-3 on Tuesday in Ontario Hockey League action.

Frank Hora and Dylan Di Perna had a goal and an assist apiece and Connor Bunnaman also scored for Kitchener (33-23-4), which was up 4-1 until midway through the third period.

Matt Hotchkiss led the Storm (20-34-5) with a goal and a helper. Liam Stevens and Nate Schnarr scored third-period goals.

Rangers goaltender Luke Richardson made 36 saves. Guelph's Anthony Popovic stopped 33 shots.

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{allcanada} QMJHL: Huskies move into 2nd place with win over Voltigeurs


ROUYN NORANDA, Que. — Alexandre Fortin scored a hat trick to lead the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to their fifth straight win, 5-2 over the Drummondville Voltigeurs in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action on Tuesday.

Martins Dzierkals and Jean-Christophe Beaudin also scored for Rouyn-Noranda (38-15-7) and Philippe Myers had two assists.

The win, coupled with Shawinigan's loss, moved the Huskies into second place in the league standings with 83 points.

Saint John leads all teams with 86 points. The Cataractes have 82 points.

Mathieu Sevigny and Pavel Koltygin had goals for the Voltigeurs (23-34-4), who have lost three in a row.

Huskies goalie Zachary Emond made 17 saves. Drummondville's Emilien Boily stopped 34 shots.



CHICOUTIMI, Que. — German Rubstov scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period as the Sagueneens snapped a three-game slide with a victory over Shawinigan.

Dmitry Zhukenov, Olivier Galipeau and Anthoie Marcoux, with a goal and an assist, also scored for Chicoutimi (33-23-4).

Nicholas Welsh struck twice for the Cataractes (39-16-4) and Alexis D'Aoust had the other goal.

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{allcanada} Brodie scores in OT to lift Flames over Kings 2-1


CALGARY, Alberta (AP) TJ Brodie scored on a breakaway 1:47 into overtime, lifting the Calgary Flames over Los Angeles 2-1 on Tuesday night in goalie Ben Bishop's first game with the Kings.

Brodie was sprung free from the blue line by a 100-foot pass by Mikael Backlund and made a nifty deke to beat Bishop for his fifth goal of the season.

Red-hot Micheal Ferland also scored for Calgary. The Flames are 6-0-1 in their last seven and climbed within two points of the Anaheim Ducks for third place in the Pacific Division. They currently hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Bishop made 28 saves two days after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 30-year-old had a few superb stops, especially during a challenging second period.

Tanner Pearson got his team-leading 21st goal for Los Angeles.

Calgary improved to 7-2 in overtime and topped one of the best in the Kings. Los Angeles entered 10-2 in OT games after losing to Minnesota in the extra period on Monday.

Ferland was bumped a week ago to a line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, and the trio have rolled since, with Ferland scoring four goals in their five games together. The wing has utilized his bruising style, demonstrated on his tying goal at 9:44 of the second period.

First, Ferland knocked Jake Muzzin to the ice with a glass-rattling body check in the corner. Then he went to the front of the net, where he neatly slapped Mark Giordano's pass behind Bishop to tie it.

Ferland has seven of his 12 goals this season in his past 13 games. His career high had been four. He is also Calgary's top scorer since the All-Star break.

Matching Bishop stop for stop in the Calgary net was veteran Brian Elliott, who continued his hot play of late as he made his 10th start in the last 13 games.

Elliott's most important save came with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game, when Muzzin's shot deflected sharply off the skate of Giordano and nearly went in.

Elliott finished with 28 saves and is 8-1-1 in his last 10 starts.

The Kings opened the scoring at 8:42 when Pearson, after multiple whacks at the puck, jammed it past Elliott's pad. It took several minutes to be ruled a goal after Kings coach Darryl Sutter challenged. Officials had waved off the goal initially because of a whistle, but reversed the call on video review. Flames coach Glen Gulutzan then challenged for goaltender interference, but the call stood.

NOTES: The Kings fell to 19-5-3 when scoring first. ... It's the seventh time in the last eight games Calgary has given up the first goal. ... Los Angeles has a 22-5 record in overtime since 3-on-3 was introduced last season, tops in the NHL. ... The Kings next four road games will also be in Alberta with two each in Calgary and Edmonton. ... Brodie played his 400th game, as did Kings D Alec Martinez.


Kings: Kick -off a seven-game homestand Thursday night against Toronto.

Flames: Host Detroit on Friday night.

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{allcanada} Oilers end road trip with 2-1 win over Blues


ST. LOUIS (AP) Goaltender Cam Talbot is a big reason why the Edmonton Oilers are in position to make their first playoff appearance since 2006.

Talbot made 25 saves, and Milan Lucic and Mark Letestu scored to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.

Talbot, making his league-best 57th start of the season, snapped a two-game losing streak.

''He's been amazing for us,'' Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. ''I don't really know how to explain how much he means to our group.

''He brings it each and every night and he battles in there no matter what's going on. He's been a rock for us and I feel he's been a big leader for our group.''

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins assisted on both goals for the Oilers, who finished their six-game road trip with a 3-3 record.

Paul Stastny scored for St. Louis as the Blues lost their first game since trading defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals on Monday night.

Jake Allen stopped 23 of 25 shots and St. Louis dropped its fourth straight coming off a six-game winning streak.

''We're not winning,'' Stastny said. ''I think everyone's (upset) around here and we know how valuable points are. We want to take it in our own hands. We can't be sitting here and relying on others teams to lose to give us some breathing room.''

Letestu converted a pass from McDavid with the two-man advantage to score the deciding goal, his 13th of the season, in the opening minute of the second period. The power-play goal was his second in as many games.

''When I go out there I expect to score,'' Letestu said. ''I expect to go score goals with all the left-handed shots. Me being the only righty out there, that's my job to get to areas where I can score, and he gave me one tonight that not too many guys are going to miss on.''

St. Louis opened the scoring on its first power play of the game when Stastny deflected Alex Pietrangelo's shot past Talbot for his 16th goal of the season.

Lucic tied the game when he fired a shot off Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson's stick and underneath the glove of Allen for his 14th tally.

''When they scored all of a sudden we started watching them,'' Blues coach Mike Yeo said. ''We were waiting for the next bad thing to happen and we stopped playing. So that was the difference in the game because at that point they drew the five-on-three and obviously got the go-ahead goal.''

NOTES: St. Louis has lost four straight games under Yeo after starting 7-1-0. ... Newly acquired Blues C Zach Sanford was in attendance after being acquired in a trade for Shattenkirk. ... McDavid has an assist in four consecutive games.


Blues: At Winnipeg on Friday night to start a three-game road trip.

Oilers: Host Detroit on Saturday to start an eight-game homestand.

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{allcanada} Zucker scores with 2:10 left to lift Wild over Jets 6-5


WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Jason Zucker scored with 2:10 left in the third period to lift the Minnesota Wild over the Winnipeg Jets 6-5 on Tuesday night.

Erik Haula set up Zucker's 20th goal of the season by racing after a loose puck and sending a backhand pass across the slot. Zucker scored right as a Winnipeg power play ended.

Haula, Mikael Granlund, Tyler Graovac, Ryan White and Marco Scandella also scored for the Wild, and Granlund, newcomer Martin Hanzal and Chris Stewart each had two assists.

Winnipeg's Joel Armia and Mark Scheifele scored in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit before Zucker's winner.

Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault each had a goal and two assists for Winnipeg.

Rookie Patrik Laine scored his 31st goal of the season and added an assist. Adam Lowry also scored.

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{allcanada} Galchenyuk scores in OT again, Canadiens beat Jackets 1-0


MONTREAL (AP) Max Pacioretty thought he had the winning goal in overtime. Instead, the Montreal Canadiens captain gave it to a teammate a few minutes later.

Alex Galchenyuk scored in overtime for the second straight night, Carey Price made 26 saves and Montreal beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 1-0 on Tuesday night to extend its winning streak to three games.

Pacioretty thought he had scored 1:11 into overtime after a beautiful pass by Andrei Markov. The puck crossed the line when Pacioretty tried to stuff his own rebound, but the play was whistled dead first, and a lengthy video review did not overturn the call.

Pacioretty instead assisted on Galchenyuk's goal 3:53 into OT. With Columbus' Seth Jones in the box for holding, Galchenyuk scored with a slap shot from the point that soared into the roof of the net.

The point was Pacioretty's 400th in the NHL. He's the 36th player in Canadiens history to reach that milestone.

''They said that they saw the goalie cover the puck,'' said Pacioretty, who has 12 points in his last nine games. ''That's hard to see when it doesn't happen. You could see my face when I got up, because we know when it's in. Genuinely, I believe I scored a goal.

''But Chucky's the hero, and I'm happy for Chucky.''

Price got his third shutout this season. He started after Al Montoya backed the Canadiens in a 4-3 come-from-behind victory at New Jersey on Monday.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 shots for the Blue Jackets, who had won two straight.

''That was a really tight game,'' Galchenyuk said. ''Both goalies played amazing.''

Montreal's three consecutive wins have all come in overtime. The Canadiens have not won a game in regulation since Jan. 31.

Newly-acquired defenseman Jordie Benn made his Canadiens debut. The 29-year-old was traded to Montreal from the Dallas Stars on Monday for defenseman Greg Pateryn and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft.

''Back and forth, pretty entertaining for the fans,'' said Benn, who played all 302 games of his NHL career with the Stars before Tuesday. ''To be listening to the fans cheer, it was pretty surreal. To have that jersey on and have them cheer like that, it's definitely hockey heaven.''

A couple of early power plays gave Montreal all the momentum, but the home team failed to capitalize.

Luck was on Montreal's side as the Jackets beat Price on several occasions but couldn't beat his posts. Columbus hit four pucks off the iron, including Zach Werenski's shot off the crossbar 19 seconds into the contest.

''It was a fun game to be involved in,'' Jackets coach John Tortorella said. ''Both teams played well and both teams played hard. I liked our attack, especially in overtime. We tried to win the game. We had some really good chances.

''We'll take that point and get out of here. It was a very evenly played game.''

NOTES: In the first intermission, the Canadiens announced they had traded forward David Desharnais to the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Brandon Davidson. ... Desharnais played 435 regular season games with Montreal after joining the Canadiens organization in 2008. The 25-year-old Davidson, who was drafted by the Oilers in the sixth round in 2010, has five goals and eight assists in 91 career games with Edmonton. Desharnais was a healthy scratch against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday.


Blue Jackets: Return home to face Western Conference-leading Minnesota on Thursday night.

Canadiens: Host Nashville on Thursday night.

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{allcanada} March 1: Wayne Gretzky sets NHL record for assists


1988: Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers officially becomes the greatest playmaker in NHL history.

Gretzky sets up a first-period goal by longtime linemate Jari Kurri for his 1,050th assist, passing Gordie Howe for No. 1 on the League's all-time list. The record-setting assist comes late in Gretzky's ninth NHL season, 17 fewer than Howe.

Gretzky also scores a goal 18 seconds before assist No. 1,050, helping the Oilers defeat the visiting Los Angeles Kings 5-3.



1968: The first-year Philadelphia Flyers find themselves without a home when the roof of the Spectrum blows off. The Flyers are forced to play the final month of the season on the road, with their "home" games moved to Toronto, New York and Quebec City. Despite that, they finish first in the West Division.


1969: The three Plager brothers -- Bob, Barclay and Bill -- all play together for the first time for the St. Louis Blues against the Montreal Canadiens. The only brother to make the score sheet is Bob, whose penalty 3:42 into the game leads to Yvan Cournoyer's power-play goal. The Canadiens defeat the Blues 3-0 at St. Louis Arena.


1970: Charlie Burns becomes the final player/coach in NHL history when he dresses and plays for the Minnesota North Stars in an 8-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Met Center. The victory ends Minnesota's 20-game winless streak (0-15-5). Burns remains Minnesota's player/coach for the final month of the season.


1989: Steve Yzerman scores a goal in a 6-5 win against the New York Islanders at Joe Louis Arena to become the first player in Detroit Red Wings history with 60 goals in a season. He's the 11th player in NHL history to score 60 in one season.

  2000 Season: Steve Yzerman fires. (Photo by John Giamundo/Getty Images)


1993: Pavel Bure scores twice to become the first player in the 23-year history of the Vancouver Canucks to get 50 goals in a season. The Canucks defeat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 in a neutral-site game played in Hamilton, Ontario.


2003: Barry Trotz of the Nashville Predators sets an NHL record for most games coached with an expansion team from its inception with a 5-4 overtime win against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. It's Trotz's 392nd game with the Predators, breaking Terry Crisp's record of 391 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.


2014: Jaromir Jagr of the New Jersey Devils becomes the seventh player in NHL history to score 700 goals. Jagr reaches the milestone with his goal at 3:31 of the second period in a 6-1 win against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Jagr also tied Marcel Dionne for ninth all-time with his 1,040th NHL assist when he set up a power-play goal by Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky at 8:07 of the second.

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{allcanada} Canadiens trade F Desharnais to Oilers


The Montreal Canadiens have traded forward David Desharnais to the Edmonton Oilers for defenceman Brandon Davidson.

Desharnais, 31, has 10 points in 31 games with the Canadiens this season. His best season to date was the 2011-12 season where he had 16 goals and 44 assists for 60 points in 81 games.

Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty addressed the trade following Montreal's 1-0 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

"I believe in Davey. He's always proved people wrong and maybe he needed a change of scenery," Pacioretty told reporters.

An undrafted free agent coming out of the QMJHL, the Laurier-Station, Quebec native signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Canadiens in 2008 after a successful season with their then-ECHL affiliate, the Cincinnati Cyclones.

Desharnais has a cap hit of $3.5 million and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. According to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun, the Canadiens will retain 20 per cent of Desharnais' salary in the trade.

Davidson has one assist in 28 games played with the Oilers this season, his third with the team.

The 25-year-old signed a two-year, $2.85 million contract on Feb. 29, 2016.

The Lethbridge, Alberta native has five goals and eight assists in 91 career games with the Oilers.

The team drafted him in the sixth round (162nd overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

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{allcanada} Eugenie Bouchard ousted in first round of Mexican Open

MEXICO CITY — Novak Djokovic beat Slovakia's Martin Klizan 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the opening round of the Mexican Open on Tuesday.

The win was Djokovic's first since his shocking loss in the second round of the Australian Open.

"It's always tough to win the first match but I'm happy with my game, especially in the first set, hopefully I can keep playing like that", Djokovic said.

The 29-year-old Serbian, ranked No. 2, played his first tournament since Jan. 19, when he suffered an unexpected loss to Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin. Djokovic, making his debut in Acapulco, saved four break points to take the first set Tuesday, struggled in the second set and needed a tiebreaker to take down Klizan in about 1 1/2 hours.

Djokovic, the top seed in Mexico, will play the winner of the later match between Juan Martin Del Potro and American Frances Tiafoe.

"'Delpo' plays tonight but I'm going to go to my bed", added Djokovic.

Djokovic, who skipped Dubai for the first time in seven years, is the first favourite in Mexico. The second is Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who had a comfortable 6-4, 6-3 win over Mischa Zverev.

Nadal, a two-time winner in Acapulco, will play Italian Paolo Lorenzi in the next round.

The Spaniard has an 11-0 record in Mexico.

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard didn't last long in women's singles, falling in the first round to Croatia's Ajla Tomljanovic.

Tomljanovic won in straight sets, 7-6 (4), 6-1, taking the match in 1:23 minutes.

Earlier, third-seeded Marin Cilic reached the second round with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov, a wild-card entry.

The 28 year-old Cilic is struggling this year with a 4-4 record. He was ousted in the second round in the Australian Open and Montpellier and reached the quarterfinals in Rotterdam.

Another player who's struggling this year is Australian Bernard Tomic, who retired in the first set of his match against American Donald Young.

Tomic, who lost the Acapulco final a year ago when he was a top-20 player in the world, is in a downward spiral in 2017 and lost in the first round for the fourth time in five tournaments so far.

Also on Tuesday, Ernesto Escobedo defeated Stefan Kozlov 6-1, 2-6, 6-0, in a duel between Americans and will play against Steve Johnson in the second round.

Another American that moved on was Sam Querrey, who took care of Kyle Edmund, from Great Britain, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Querrey, who reached the semifinals in Acapulco in 2016, will face Belgian David Goffin, the fifth-seed in Mexico.

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{allcanada} Canadiens acquire Steve Ott from Red Wings

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired forward Steve Ott from the Detroit Red Wings for a sixth round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

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{allcanada} Vancouver Canucks trade Jannik Hansen to San Jose Sharks


The Vancouver Canucks have traded forward Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks.

Hansen was removed from the Canucks' lineup prior to Tuesday's game against the Detroit Red Wings as a precaution. He has one year remaining on his contract, which comes with a $2.5-million cap hit.

The 30-year-old has six goals and 13 points in 28 games this season but has just one goal in the past 11 contests.

Hansen had spent his entire NHL with the Canucks after the team selected him 287th overall in the 2004 draft.

The trade comes one day after the team sent Alexandre Burrows to the Ottawa Senators for Swedish prospect Jonathan Dahlen.

  • Nikolay Goldobin
  • Conditional 4th-round pick (2017)
  • Jannik Hansen

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{allcanada} Jays grab first preseason win over Pirates


BRADENTON, Fla. — Jonathan Diaz and three other Blue Jays hit home runs as Toronto downed the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-0 on Tuesday for their first pre-season victory.

Joshua Palacios, Mike Ohlman and Matt Dean also went deep for the Blue Jays (1-4) as eight pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout.

Luke Harrell started the game, walking one and striking out three through two innings.

Gregorio Petit and Dwight Smith Jr., both went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in apiece.

Ivan Nova started for Pittsburgh (3-2), throwing two scoreless innings. Tony Watson took the loss.

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{allcanada} TFC captain Bradley praises M Vazquez


TORONTO — The early reviews on newly acquired Spanish playmaker Victor Vazquez are all positive in Toronto FC's camp.

"(A) very good football player," said captain Michael Bradley, who does not hand out praise lightly. "Somebody who makes guys around him better, somebody who's easy to play with. He reads the game, he's very good at finding space."

The 30-year-old Vazquez joined the MLS side on Feb. 20, with team officials hoping the former footballer of the year in Belgium will add creativity to the midfield behind an already potent attack featuring Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore.

Vazquez last played a competitive match in the late fall before securing his release from Mexico's Cruz Azul. While his fitness is improving, Toronto is not likely to push him too soon.

"Victor is very close," said coach Greg Vanney. "He's ready to play. Is he ready for 90 minutes at a really high tempo? I would say probably not."

Toronto opens the season Saturday at Real Salt Lake.

Vazquez said he is probably at about 60-70 per cent fitness, and looking to reach 100 per cent as soon as possible "to be ready to give everything."

The Spaniard seems to be settling in. His wife and son were at the team's training ground Tuesday, meeting club officials to learn about housing, schools and the city.

After spending 14 years in the Barcelona system, Vazquez made his mark with Club Brugge in Belgium. After five seasons there, the move to Mexico was to find a new challenge but proved to be an awkward fit — especially for his family.

"It was a hard experience," he said.

Vazquez said he wants a "quiet life" after living with 20-million-plus in and around Mexico City. "And in Canada I know that we will have it," he said.

It was the kind of lifestyle they had in Belgium, Vazquez added.

Asked about the Spaniard, Bradley offered up what he calls one of the best compliments any player can get.

"He's easy to play with," said Bradley. "When he should play one-touch (soccer), he plays one-touch. When he should play two-touch, he plays two-touch. When he has time and the game asks for a little bit more, he's able to do a little bit more. And I think as he gets fitter and sharper and as we get him even more integrated into our group, he's going to help us in a big way."

Vazquez did not come cheap. Toronto used targeted allocation money to bring his salary cap cost below the maximum of some US$500,000.

The Spaniard can score goals and make them. He says his preference is to set up others.

"I'm not thinking individual things. I always try to think as a collective," he said in English. "Of course, I like to score goals because it's always a nice compliment but I prefer to give assists because it's my way of playing. And then I'll be happy if I give assists to Jozy, to Sebastian, it doesn't matter who. But I will be more happy than sometimes scoring goals."

French-born Congolese defender Chris Mavinga will not be part of the squad in Salt Lake after returning to France for the birth of his child.

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{allcanada} Flames host Hockey Is For Everyone night


CALGARY -- Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan is helping spread the message: Hockey is for everyone.

The idea will be front and center when Stajan and the Flames host their Hockey Is For Everyone night on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings (9 p.m. ET; SN1, FS-W, NHL.TV).

"No matter where you come from, whatever way you live your life, hockey is a sport you can play," said Stajan, the Flames ambassador for the You Can Play project. "It's a great way to create awareness. I think everyone is so supportive of it these days that it's great to see.

"At the end of the day everybody, all 700-plus players in the League, are stepping up to be a part of this and I think that's a good thing."

Throughout February, Hockey Is For Everyone month activities have focused awareness on such areas as LGBTQ, ethnicity and gender equality, and socio-economic status and those with disabilities.

The campaign is conducted in partnership with You Can Play -- a non-profit committed to supporting the LGBTQ community and fighting homophobia in sports. The project was started by Patrick Burke, the director of player safety for the NHL and son of Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke. Patrick's brother, Brendan Burke, came out as gay in November 2009. He died in an automobile accident on Feb. 5, 2010.

"It's about the big picture…to reach out to young kids is what I really think is the best part of days like today and the You Can Play program," Flames captain Mark Giordano said. "You know there are people out there, young children out there…by us promoting the message and getting through to a few kids and let them know that everyone should be included I think it's a strong message. It's a really good message to be sending, especially to young kids. I have my own son now. I'd like to pump this sort of message to him about the world, really.

"The League has done a great job of it."

The message has strong support from the Flames.

Stajan and teammates Troy Brouwer, Chad Johnson, and goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet marched in the Calgary Pride Parade on Sept. 4, and the Calgary Flames Foundation provided a $25,000 grant to the You Can Play Project's Western Canada Ambassador Program, which consists of LGBTQ-identified athletes, sports leaders, coaches and advocates tasked with executing You Can Play educational outreach opportunities in communities across Western Canada last year.

It's all done to help spread the message of inclusion.

"Everyone shows their support…every single player," Stajan said. "It creates a lot of awareness for hockey fans and sports fans. The world's just getting better and better with accepting the way everybody lives their lives. I think that's important and the way it should be.

"Everybody's doing a job to make that happen."

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{allcanada} KINGS (30-27-5) at FLAMES (33-26-4)


KINGS (30-27-5) at FLAMES (33-26-4)

9 p.m. ET; SN1, FS-W, NHL.TV


Kings team scope

Goaltender Ben Bishop could play his first game for the Los Angeles Kings after being acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday. Bishop backed up Jonathan Quick in the Kings' 5-4 overtime loss at the Minnesota Wild on Monday. Coach Darryl Sutter didn't discuss a rotation of Bishop and Quick, who has started back-to-back games after missing 59 because of a groin injury. "I'm not getting into that," Sutter said after the loss to the Wild. "It's not baseball. … We got to make sure the guy that has played two in a row is getting his proper rest and taking care of his body." Los Angeles trails the St. Louis Blues by two points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Kings are five points behind of the Calgary Flames for the first wild card. "[Tuesday] is huge, no matter what," defenseman Jake Muzzin said after the Minnesota game. "Win tonight, still huge. Lose tonight, still huge. One point, two points, it's still huge. It's a must win game for us."


Flames team scope

Calgary is seeking its fifth straight win when it starts a four-game homestand. The Flames, who went 4-0-1 on a five-game road trip, are 15-14-0 at Scotiabank Saddledome. "At this time of year you've just got to find ways to win hockey games," center Matt Stajan said. "We've been doing that on the road. We have to bring that into this building." The Flames are 8-2-1 in February and trail the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers by four points for second place in the Pacific Division. "Your mentality has to be to push up when you feel you're within striking distance," captain Mark Giordano said. "At the same time, because we're playing [Los Angeles], it's a four-point game. You can create a little more separation or they come right back into the mix." Goaltender Brian Elliott will start for the sixth time in seven games. Elliott is 4-0-1 with a 2.20 goals against average and .922 save percentage since Feb. 15. "He's been great," Stajan said. "Even when [Chad Johnson] has come in he's been great. Those two guys are pushing each other. It's made a huge difference. Just look at the standings and the way we've picked up points."


Kings projected lineup

Adrian Kempe -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Marian Gaborik -- Nic Dowd -- Kyle Clifford

Dwight King -- Nick Shore -- Trevor Lewis

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Kevin Gravel

Brayden McNabb -- Alec Martinez

Ben Bishop

Jonathan Quick

Scratched: Andy Andreoff

Injured: Matt Greene (undisclosed), Jordan Nolan (muscle pull), Paul LaDue (upper body)


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Micheal Ferland

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Troy Brouwer

Lance Bouma -- Matt Stajan -- Alex Chiasson

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Michael Stone

Matt Bartkowski -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Freddie Hamilton, Jyrki Jokipakka, Dennis Wideman



Status report

The Kings did not hold a morning skate. … Backlund didn't take part in the morning skate because of maintenance but is expected to play. The Flames placed Jokipakka on waivers on Tuesday.


Who's hot

Pearson has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past eight games. Carter has eight points (three goals, five assists) in the past eight games. … Gaudreau was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week after finishing with eight points (two goals, six assists) in four games. Backlund has six points (four goals, two assists) in HIS past six games. Tkachuk has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past nine games. Monahan is one assist away from 100 and one point from 200 in his NHL career.

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