Backlund hopes to stay hot as Flames host Ducks

December 29, 2016

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames received good news and bad news on the injury front the day before Thursday's home game against the Anaheim Ducks.

While center Mikael Backlund is expected to be back playing against the Ducks after missing the third period of Tuesday's 6-3 road victory over the Colorado Avalanche, right winger Troy Brouwer is out week-to-week with a broken finger.

Backlund, who blocked a shot by Avalanche center Matt Duchene during a two-man advantage for Colorado in the second period Tuesday, will be looking to build off of back-to-back three-point performances when the Flames (19-16-2) take on the Ducks (17-12-7) at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Meanwhile, Brouwer was injured in the first period of Calgary's 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday when left winger Kris Versteeg's dump-in from the neutral zone hit him in the hand. General manager Brad Treliving provided an update Wednesday that Brouwer suffered a broken finger and underwent surgery.

"It's a big blow for our group," Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan told reporters. "We just have to have other guys step up now in his place and take on his roles and responsibilities."

The Flames proved they can rally following injuries to key players, most notably when star left winger Johnny Gaudreau missed 10 games with a fractured finger earlier this season.

"Johnny was down earlier with the same kind of injury," left winger Sean Monahan said. "When that happened other guys stepped up, so this is again another opportunity for guys to raise their game and get going and get some wins here. We've got to be ready if a guy goes down."

The Ducks look to avenge an 8-3 loss they suffered to the Flames in Calgary on Dec. 4, while also bouncing back from a 3-2 overtime setback against the San Jose Sharks at home on Tuesday.

"We deserved better, but you end up giving up a point by not doing the job in overtime," Anaheim center Andrew Cogliano told reporters after the OT setback. "It's been like that all year. We have to sort it out and really look into it. We've lost too many. With where we're going and how tight the division is going to be, we have to find ways to get that second point if that's in overtime or a shootout."

Defenseman Sami Vatanen didn't travel to Calgary because of illness for the Ducks, who called up 22-year-old blue-liner Brandon Montour from the AHL's San Diego Gulls on Wednesday.

If Montour gets into the lineup against the Flames, it will occur on the one-year anniversary of fellow defenseman Shea Theodore's NHL debut, also in Calgary on Dec. 29, 2015.

"Obviously a lot of emotions because it's my first time," Montour told reporters after practicing with the Ducks in Anaheim on Wednesday. "I'm excited to get going. This is what I grew up playing the game for. I'm ready to go. If it's there, it's there. If it's not, I'll just keep waiting."

The Ducks also received some bad news Wednesday in regard to defenseman Clayton Stoner, who underwent abdominal surgery Dec. 1. According to coach Randy Carlyle, Stoner is expected to be out of the lineup 4-to-6 weeks to recover from the procedure.

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