Preview: Flames at Blue Jackets
The Calgary Flames had been unable to get their offense untracked away from home, failing to score more than two regulation goals in six consecutive road games before breaking out of the funk in a big way in their last contest. Coming off a dramatic comeback win in overtime at Nashville, the Flames continue a four-game trek at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Calgary was getting run off the ice by the Predators, allowing the first 14 shots and trailing 4-1 before erupting for four third-period goals in a 6-5 overtime victory. “We’re going to find out moving forward, but it should be a springboard to bigger and better things. That’s what I hope happens,” coach Bill Peters said after Matthew Tkachuk scored the deciding goal in spectacular fashion with just over one tick left on the clock. Columbus coughed up a two-goal lead in the second period and wound up on the short end of a 4-3 overtime setback in St. Louis on Friday night to run its losing streak to a season-worst three games. It was the ninth one-goal decision in 11 games for the Blue Jackets, who have lost four of five (1-2-2) against Western Conference foes.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West, Sportsnet Pacific (Calgary), FS Ohio (Columbus)
ABOUT THE FLAMES (7-6-2): Tkachuk scored with 39 seconds left in regulation before finishing off the comeback with a highlight-reel goal with 1.4 seconds left in the extra session, slipping a between-the-legs shot under the crossbar that left his teammates in awe. “It’s crazy,” Calgary defenseman Oliver Kylington. “We just saw it and everyone basically looked at each other and said, ‘Wow.’ ” Johnny Gaudreau, who collected two assists to tie Tkachuk for the team lead in points (13), has four goals and as many assists in seven games versus Columbus.
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (5-5-3): Joonas Korpisalo, who owns an .886 save percentage and has been pierced for 10 goals over four-plus periods in dropping his last two starts, will take a 1-1-0 mark and 2.43 goals-against average into Saturday's matchup. Third-year center Pierre-Luc Dubois scored one goal and set up another to give him three of each during a five-game point streak, and he has thrived in four meetings against the Flames, scoring three times. Oliver Bjorkstrand matched Dubois with a goal and an assist to halt a seven-game point drought.
1. Calgary has earned at least a point in its last four visits to Columbus (3-0-1).
2. The Blue Jackets are 0-6-2 when the opposing team scores the opening goal.
3. Flames G David Rittich has allowed two goals or fewer in half his 12 starts and at least four in his other six starts.
PREDICTION: Flames 4, Blue Jackets 2