Isles host Flames hoping to stay in win column
(SportsNetwork.com) - After ending a five-game losing streak their last time out the New York Islanders will aim for a second straight win when they host the Calgary Flames on Thursday at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders were suffering through an 0-4-1 slide before recording Tuesday's 1-0 victory in Washington. Andrew MacDonald scored the only goal of the game early in the third period to give the Isles their first win since beating the rival New York Rangers on Jan. 21.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped all 22 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. Nabokov helped the Isles kill off six Washington power-play chances in the game. New York went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
"It's a good win for our team," said Islanders coach Jack Capuano. "We're a desperate team and I thought our guys worked hard tonight right from the start. I thought we defended real well, we were structured tonight and guys played hard."
Despite the win, the Isles still face an uphill battle to make the playoffs. The club is currently 14th out of 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 10 points out of a postseason berth.
New York is kicking off a five-game homestand on Thursday, although the club will only get to play the first two portions of the residency before the NHL goes on its break for the Winter Olympics.
The Isles, who are 8-12-8 as the host, will welcome Colorado on Saturday in their final test before the two-week hiatus.
Calgary also has two games left on its pre-Olympics schedule and both are on the road. After posting a perfect 5-0 mark on a homestand, the Flames began a three-game road trip on Tuesday in Montreal and lost a 2-0 decision. It was Calgary's fourth loss in a row on the road, dropping the club to 9-14-4 as the guest this season.
The Flames, who were coming off sweeping their first five-game homestand since Feb. 7-15, 1997, were unable to solve Carey Price on Tuesday despite firing 27 shots at the Canadiens goaltender.
After the teams combined for just nine shots in a scoreless first frame, the Flames found themselves with a 5-on-3 under five minutes into the second, but Calgary couldn't capitalize, as Price turned away all comers to keep the visitors off the board. Rene Bourque would later score with 3:45 left in the second period to give Montreal a 1-0 lead and the game's only other goal was an empty-netter from David Desharnais in the closing seconds of regulation.
"The turning point in the game was our 5-on-3 power play," Calgary head coach Bob Hartley said. "If we score, it's a different game. We had a few good chances, but Price came up with some big saves."
Reto Berra, starting between the pipes for the Flames in place of an injured Karri Ramo, stopped 25-of-26 shots in the setback. Ramo won't be able to play again before the Olympic break and Berra expects to get another start tonight.
The Isles have fared very well against the Flames in recent years, winning three straight and five of the last six encounters in this series. New York has claimed the last three meetings on Long Island, including the most recent matchup on Dec. 29, 2011.
02/06 11:14:00 ET