NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, February 4th
(All times Eastern)
Calgary Flames (21-27-7) at Montreal Canadiens (29-21-6), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames will see if they can take their
recent hot streak on the road when they shoot for a sixth consecutive win
Monday night in Montreal.
The Flames went 5-0 during a recent residency at the Saddledome, sweeping a
five-game homestand for the first time since Feb. 7-15, 1997. The hot stretch
at home came just two weeks after the Flames set a franchise record by losing
seven straight in their own building.
Calgary, however, has lost three straight and eight of its last 10 on the
road, but the Flames hope to pick up an away win when they visit the Canadiens
tonight at the Bell Centre.
The Flames are just 9-13-4 as the guest this season, and despite the recent
surge, the club is still 14 points out of a playoff spot in the Western
Conference. Calgary is beginning a three-game swing on Tuesday. The Flames
will visit the New York Islanders on Thursday before playing their last game
before the Olympic break Saturday in Philadelphia.
Calgary capped its perfect homestand on Saturday by picking up a 4-3 overtime
win against Minnesota. The Flames carried a 2-1 lead into the third and built
a 3-1 cushion just a minute into the period before the Wild scored twice over
the final 10 minutes of regulation to send the game to OT.
Mikael Backlund scored the game-winner in overtime for Calgary, giving him two
goals on the night. T.J. Galiardi added a goal and an assist for the Flames
and Dennis Wideman also lit the lamp.
The Flames did lose goaltender Karri Ramo to a sprained medial collateral
ligament on Saturday, as he left the game late in the first period and did not
return. Reto Berra stopped 14-of-17 shots in relief.
Ramo will miss his team's final three games before the Olympics and the Flames
have recalled goaltender Joni Ortio from Abbotsford of the American Hockey
League to assist Berra with the netminding duties.
"Reto (Berra) gets the start in Montreal," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "He
came in big for us last game. We have three games left. We're in the business
of playing the ones who perform."
The Canadiens enter this evening's test having lost two straight at the start
of a four-game homestand. Montreal, which has dropped four of six overall, was
handed a 2-1 overtime setback by Tampa Bay on Saturday and lost by the same
score in regulation the next day versus Winnipeg.
Michael Frolik scored the winner in the third period and Al Montoya made 30
saves to help the Jets down the Habs. Brian Gionta scored the only goal and
Carey Price allowed both goals on 33 shots for the Canadiens.
"We were intense today and hit two posts, but Montoya made some good key
saves," said Montreal head coach Michel Therrien. "Sure we would like to score
more goals, but I liked the intensity we showed today."
Montreal is currently holding onto the seventh of eight playoff seed in the
Eastern Conference. The Habs are two points in front of Detroit and
Philadelphia for that distinction and Montreal is two in back of Toronto for
third place in the Atlantic Division.
The Canadiens pulled off a minor trade on Monday, acquiring forward Dale Weise
from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenseman Raphael Diaz. Montreal
general manager Marc Bergevin said Weise "brings additional toughness and grit
to our group of forwards."
Weise, 25, had three goals, nine assists and 65 hits in 44 games for the
Canucks this season. For his career, he has totaled 10 goals, 16 assists and
185 penalty minutes in 162 games with the New York Rangers and Canucks.
The 28-year-old Diaz posted 11 assists and blocked 100 shots in 46 games with
the Canadiens in 2013-14. The Swiss native has four goals and 37 helpers in
128 career games, all with Montreal.
Including this evening's test, the Canadiens have three games left before the
NHL goes on hiatus for the Winter Olympics. Montreal is set to complete its
four-game stay at the Bell Centre on Thursday against Vancouver before
visiting Carolina on Saturday.
The Canadiens, who are 15-10-4 as the host this season, have lost two of their
last three home games against the Flames, although the clubs last met in
Montreal on Oct. 13, 2011 when Calgary notched a 4-1 triumph.
The Flames have taken four in a row in this series and boast a 7-0-1 record in
their last eight tilts against Montreal.
02/04 10:47:25 ET