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Stamps, Als to meet in possible Cup preview

CALGARY - The last time the Montreal Alouettes played at McMahon Stadium, they walked off the field with the Grey Cup.

CALGARY - The last time the Montreal Alouettes played at McMahon Stadium, they walked off the field with the Grey Cup.

The Calgary Stampeders weren't their opposition, having lost in the Western final to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The Als won the CFL title in a thriller. Damon Duval won the game on a second field-goal attempt after the Roughriders were called for too many men on his first missed attempt.

Montreal returns to the scene of that drama to face the host Stampeders on Friday (TSN, 9 p.m. ET). The Als won't spend much time dwelling on happy memories when they step onto that field again.

"I'm sure it's only human nature that when we walk out there we'll think for a moment about that, but we've got to get focused on the task," Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman said Thursday. "We've got a heck of a team we're playing against and we're excited to go out and test ourselves as well."

Calgary and Montreal top their respective divisions with 9-3 records. Montreal is coming off back-to-back wins, while the Stamps are hoping to snap their first two-game losing skid of the season.

This is the first meeting of the year between the defending Grey Cup champions and the league champion from two years ago, when Calgary beat Montreal at home for the title. Montreal swept last season's series 2-0.

Montreal downed Winnipeg 44-40 last week and has six points of breathing room on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East Division.

The Stampeders are coming off a dreadful performance in a 29-10 loss to B.C. last week. The Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-4) are breathing down Calgary's neck for top spot in the West.

Montreal and Calgary have mirrored each other in their losses this season, falling to the B.C. Lions, Toronto Argonauts and the Roughriders on the road.

"The two teams here on the field have lost to the same teams in the same venues," Calgary quarterback Henry Burris observed.

"Something's got to give and we want to make sure we do our best offensively to make sure we can help out and get a victory here against the defending Grey Cup champions."

Calgary's next three games are pivotal to their season as they face Montreal twice and then Saskatchewan on Oct. 17.

The two starting quarterbacks are in different places emotionally heading into Friday's contest. After missing two games with a bruised sternum, Montreal's Anthony Calvillo led the Als to wins over Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Calvillo had a career-best 477 passing yards and five touchdown passes against Winnipeg.

"The big question was physically, was I going to be able to take that hit and get back up," Calvillo said. "To be honest, it really hasn't been tested. I haven't got hit real hard in the last two games."

After completing 11-of-26 passes and throwing two interceptions against the Lions, Burris was replaced by backup Drew Tate in the fourth quarter. Burris couldn't remember the last time he'd been pulled from a game.

Photos circulated on the Internet earlier this week of Burris posing shirtless and wearing a black bra, standing next to a woman wearing a white bra. Burris turned 35 in June and said the photos were a birthday prank.

It was a distraction the quarterback didn't need, however, as he tries to bounce back in a game against the defending champions.

"Momma says there would be days like this and it's all about how do you come back," Burris said.

Statistically, Calgary's offence and defence are still the best in the CFL. Offence and special teams were terrible against B.C., but not the defence.

"Their defence, to be honest with you, is what I consider unconventional," Calvillo said. "There's not another team in this league that's doing what they're doing.

"(Calgary defensive co-ordinator) Chris Jones in the past has been very creative in what they do. Here, the safeties and the linebackers and the DBs, they're lined up all over the place.

"Sometimes the middle of the field is open and there's a chance and sometimes it's closed."

Montreal slotback Ben Cahoon, who last week became just the second receiver in CFL history to reach 1,000 career catches, is seven away from passing Terry Vaughn as the league's all-time leader.

"Not going to count my eggs until they hatch," Cahoon said. "I've got my mind on trying to figure out a way to get open and catch a single ball tomorrow, let alone five, six or seven or however many it is."

Calgary's leading receiver Nik Lewis returns to the lineup after sitting out last week's game with a minor knee injury. He and B.C.'s Davis Sanchez had a shouting match after the game.

"I get to get my aggression out this week," Lewis declared. "I get to go out there and bang and punish some people.

"And I get to get in the end zone and maybe just do a dance or something, a happy dance to get back in there. It's been a while."

Notes: Calgary offensive lineman Dan Comiskey is out of the lineup with a concussion suffered last week. Steve Myddelton will start at left guard . . . Montreal's leading receiver Kerry Watkins separated his shoulder against Winnipeg and will not play Friday . . . Montreal and Calgary are 5-5 in their last 10 meetings.

 
 
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