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Jakob Pelletier returns to the Calgary Flames lineup in time for the Battle of Alberta

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Photo credit:© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
The Calgary Flames will have Dan Vladar in goal when they face the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night in the third Battle of Alberta instalment of the 2023-24 season. That’s more or less where the lineup similarities end for the visitors, as eight new faces will be on the roster sheet for the Flames when these teams clash.
The most prominent face will forward Jakob Pelletier, returning to the Flames lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury.
It’s the first Battle of Alberta game action for Pelletier, the Flames’ first-round pick in 2019, as well as for Martin Pospisil and Brayden Pachal. (Pospisil sure seems built for the Battle of Alberta, doesn’t he?)
Speaking to the media following morning skate at Rogers Place, Flames head coach Ryan Huska discussed his excitement regarding Pelletier’s return to game action.
“He’s an infectious personality, a character around our dressing room,” said Huska. “And I think when you get into these type of games, it’s good to have a person like that in the room but also available for us on the ice.”
With Andrei Kuzmenko unavailable – he’s “not well” according to Huska – Pelletier line up in morning rushes with Jonathan Huberdeau and Yegor Sharangovich. Huska cautioned that the lines could be in flux, and it sounds like it’s dependent on how Pelletier responds.
“They’re not set, per se, a couple of our lines,” said Huska. We had to make sure we got the morning with Jakob and seeing how he responded and all that stuff that comes along with it. We’ll see as the night goes on. He may find himself in a few different positions.”
Pelletier was upbeat after morning skate about his return to the lineup, and excited about his new linemates.
“He’s got a crazy shot, to be honest,” said Pelletier on Sharangovich. “He’s a smart guy, wins faceoffs, and I think us three, if we move the puck fast and shoot the puck, I think good things can happen.”
All-but cemented into an opening night slot, Pelletier was injured in the pre-season and required shoulder surgery. Heading into Saturday’s game, he’s played four NHL games (with one assist) and four AHL games (with two goals and one assist) this season.
He left the Flames’ Feb. 12 game against the New York Rangers in the first period after taking a big hit from Jacob Trouba, but his injury turned out to be minor – especially compared to the one he suffered in the pre-season.
In addition to Kuzmenko’s absence against the Oilers, Dan Vladar will make his first start since Jan. 20 (coincidentally also against the Oilers) due to Jacob Markstrom not being 100%. According to Huska, Markstrom’s well enough to back up but not well enough to play.
Saturday night is the third Battle of Alberta of the 2023-24 campaign. The Oilers won the first two by scores of 5-2 and 3-1. The season series concludes on Apr. 5 in Calgary.
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