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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, February 3rd (All times eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (19-29-7) at Calgary Flames (27-21-8), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Flames conclude a three-game homestand tonight with a much different look then when it began.

Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins will become the fifth and sixth different skaters to make their Calgary debut in the last two games, as the club hosts the Carolina Hurricanes at Pengrowth Saddledome.

The Flames began this stand having gone 0-6-3 in nine games before a 6-1 win over the lowly Oilers on Saturday. That didn't stop Calgary from pulling off a big trade the following day, shipping former All-Star defenseman Dion Phaneuf, forward Fredrik Sjostrom and defensive prospect Keith Aulie to Toronto for four players.

Coming back to Calgary were forwards Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan and Jamal Mayers, as well as defenseman Ian White, and all four players made their debut on Monday night versus the Flyers.

Hoping to spark an offense that is netting just 2.50 goals per game, the Flames instead managed just 18 shots in a 3-0 loss to Philadelphia. Miikka Kiprusoff made 24 saves, as Calgary lost for the seventh time in its last eight home games.

"We had a lot of guys here tonight who just didn't play well," Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. "The emotion level was not where it needed to be. We can't have players, new and old, take too long getting used to each other because we have no time for that. We need to win hockey games."

Calgary, which is two points behind Detroit and Nashville for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference, shook things up again following Monday night's game, as an on-again, off-again trade with the New York Rangers was made official.

Olli Jokinen, acquired from Florida at last year's trade deadline, was dealt to the Big Apple along with forward Brandon Prust for Kotalik and Higgins.

Kotalik has just eight goals and 22 points in 45 games this season and had been a healthy scratch in eight of New York's last nine games after signing a three-year deal with the club prior to this season. Higgins, meanwhile, had six goals and eight assists in 55 games with New York.

Calgary will try to get is offense on track versus a Carolina club that had a season-high four-game winning streak halted with Monday's 4-2 loss to Edmonton. Cam Ward, who had allowed just five goals over the Hurricanes' win streak, was beaten four times on 27 shots.

"I thought [Edmonton] worked hard and skated real hard," Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice said. "It wasn't a pretty game to watch from either team's side, but their goalie was good."

Jussi Jokinen scored in his third straight game, giving him seven goals and five assists in his last nine contests, while Eric Staal notched an assist to run his point streak to nine games. The Carolina captain has eight goals and six helpers over that run.

Carolina has the fewest points in the Eastern Conference with 45, 12 back of a playoff spot, and lost the opener of a four-game road trip.

Ray Whitney scored a hat trick to lead the 'Canes to a 6-1 home win over the Flames last year, snapping Calgary's three-game series winning streak. Carolina has lost its last two trips to Pengrowth Saddledome.

02/03 10:31:58 ET


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