Preview: Devils at Flames
The Calgary Flames extended their season-high winning streak to seven games with a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 27, only to lose four in a row before stopping the skid in their last time out. The Flames look to ignite another winning streak on Tuesday when they host the reeling Devils in the second contest of their three-game homestand.
Matthew Tkachuk registered his first career hat trick and his fifth four-point performance of the season in Calgary's 6-3 victory over Vegas while fellow 3M Line members Mikael Backlund (two goals, one assist) and Michael Frolik (career-high four assists) also had banner nights on Sunday. "When it's going like that, it's fun to be a part of. It's special," Frolik said of the line's 11-point performance. While Calgary's victory over New Jersey last month was its ninth in the last 11 meetings in the series, it also began a six-game losing skid for a cellar-dwelling Devils club that has scored just seven goals in that stretch. "It doesn't matter. You just go out there and play the same way and try to play your best no matter what," said goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, who owns an 0-3-0 mark in his last three outings despite turning aside 95 of 100 shots.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, MSG-Plus (New Jersey), Sportsnet West (Calgary)
ABOUT THE DEVILS (25-35-9): Coach John Hynes told reporters on Monday that reigning Hart Trophy recipient Taylor Hall (knee) and Jesper Bratt (undisclosed) have been ruled out through the end of March and could return for the final few games at best. Former top overall pick Nico Hischier (team-leading 27 assists) remained in the Garden State to skate on his own, although he may join the team on its six-game road trip later in the week. Prospect Colton White was recalled from Binghamton of the American Hockey League with fellow defenseman Sami Vatanen sitting out Monday's practice after missing three games due to a combination of an upper-body injury and illness.
ABOUT THE FLAMES (42-20-7): The secondary scoring was a welcome sight for a Calgary club that has relied heavily on its vaunted top line. The electric Johnny Gaudreau, who had a pair of assists against the Devils, has tallied once since the All-Star break while Sean Monahan (one goal in 13 games) and Elias Lindholm (one goal in 12 contests) have struggled as well. "The season, it's long," Frolik said. "Our first line, they were so good for such a long time for us. I've been around it -- I know it's tough to keep it going for the whole year, and that's the time for secondary scoring."
1. Calgary has the second-fewest losses at home in the Western Conference (21-7-5) while New Jersey's eight road wins are the fewest in the NHL.
2. Devils RW Kyle Palmieri, who leads the team in goals (26) and points (48), has just one point -- an assist -- in his last six games.
3. Flames G David Rittich sports a 10-1-4 mark at home despite posting a 3.48 goals-against average and .878 save percentage.
PREDICTION: Flames 5, Devils 1