Flames add defensive help ahead of game with Stars (Feb 26, 2018)

February 26, 2018

DALLAS -- When the Calgary Flames face off against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center, one team will be much the same as it was before Monday's NHL trade deadline and the other has a new addition.

Calgary (32-22-9), which has won two straight games, including a 5-1 win over Colorado on Saturday at home, acquired veteran Chris Stewart off waivers on Monday afternoon.

Flames coach Glen Gulutzan is excited about the addition.

"This is a good veteran player," Gulutzan said after practice Monday. "We knew what kind of person he was. Just that veteran, big-body presence in a conference where we think we still need it, so it's a good acquisition for us."

The Flames, who have lost both meetings with the Stars this season, 2-1 in Calgary on Oct. 27 and 6-4 in Dallas on Nov. 24, have been a tough opponent away from home with a road record of 18-8-5.

Calgary has also played well in limited action against the Central Division, going 11-5-2.

And even with an off day on Sunday, Gulutzan, who coached the Stars for two seasons (2011-12, 2012-13) before being hired by the Flames ahead of last season, kept practice short on Monday before his team hopped a plane to Texas to start a two-game trip that also takes them to Colorado on Wednesday to finish a quick back-to-back against two Central opponents.

"We want this time of year to be short and sharp, right? Twenty-eight minutes, short and sharp," Gulutzan said. "It's the mental time of year, so if we're going to keep it short, we better be sharp."

On Monday, Gulutzan said forward Michael Ferland, out the past two games with an undisclosed injury, is likely to miss Tuesday's game as well. Gulutzan also didn't think Ferland was likely to play the tail end of the back-to-back on Wednesday against the Avalanche.

"Yeah, we've got him as day to day," Gulutzan said of Ferland. "I don't expect him to be in tomorrow's game, but we'll keep him day to day here."

Gulutzan also had no further news on goaltender Mike Smith (groin), who continues to be sidelined.

Dallas (35-23-4, 74 points) chose to stand pat at the deadline and didn't make any moves.

Before the deadline passed, first-year Stars coach Ken Hitchcock was simply ready for it to be over with and focus more on the Flames than anything else.

"We're looking at Calgary and we found out Chris Stewart got picked up, so there goes a change in your depth and what you're looking at," Hitchcock said after practice Monday. "As you get more and more time in the league, you just wait for it (the trade deadline) to be over."

The Stars are 21-10-1 at home but lost 5-3 on Saturday to the Winnipeg Jets.

And even though that was a rare loss for Dallas on home ice this season, veteran Stars center Jason Spezza knows having a short memory after both wins and losses is even more crucial at this point in the regular season.

"I really think we're just in a look forward point of the season. It's just getting yourself prepared on the off days for game days and bringing it all for the game day," Spezza said. "The intensity gets ramped up and there's no time to dwell."

Dallas is 6-4-0 in its last 10 games, including losses in four of their past six.

But Hitchcock sees plenty to like in a stretch where results and points have been hard to come by for his team.

"I think the biggest thing we've got to do is not so much manage the puck better. It's take advantage of all the opportunities we're getting," Hitchcock said. "We're working to create a lot of offensive opportunities off our checking. Now we need to take the next step."

Stars injured center Martin Hanzal (lower body), who has spent more time in the training room than on the ice this season, did not practice Monday and won't play again Tuesday.

"He was in today (Monday), not able to participate," Hitchcock said of Hanzal. "I don't think we're going to have a good read until probably Wednesday, Thursday of this week. But until he gets on the ice again, we can't really give you the exact time."

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