Blue Jackets-Flames Preview
The Calgary Flames have been going through some trying times lately, and coach Bob Hartley has been proud of how his club has responded in those tough situations.
Columbus coach Todd Richards, meanwhile, is trying to lead the Blue Jackets through their latest bout with adversity after the team's worst defeat in more than two years.
Calgary looks to win back-to-back games for the first time in more than five weeks when it hosts Columbus on Wednesday night.
The Flames (7-11-3) got off to a 3-0-2 start after beating New Jersey on Oct. 11 for their second straight win, but dropped 12 of their next 15 games. Calgary was mired in a six-game losing streak before rookie Sean Monahan scored in the eighth round of the shootout to beat Winnipeg 5-4 on Monday.
Calgary was able to pick up two points despite allowing the tying goal with 5.6 seconds remaining in the third period.
"I like those guys because they're working," Hartley said. "We're not perfect, but there is not a day that they're not trying. Some days are tougher than others, some days are better than others, but I can count on those guys. They want to learn, they want to get better and they're certainly very proud of wearing the flaming C."
The 19-year-old Monahan, who was the sixth overall pick in this year's draft and has eight goals and 14 points, assisted on Michael Cammalleri's team-best ninth goal in the second period. Lee Stempniak also had an assist on the play.
"We desperately needed this win," Stempniak said. "It's heart-breaking to give up a goal (late) to tie it, but we got through it."
The Blue Jackets showed little fight in a 7-0 loss to Edmonton on Tuesday, their worst defeat since falling 9-2 to Philadelphia on Nov. 5, 2011.
It was the first time Columbus (7-11-3), which has lost nine of 11, had been shut out while allowing at least that many goals since a 7-0 loss to Chicago on Jan. 22, 2004.
"I'm just really, really disappointed," Richards said. "There was no desperation and no urgency. You are going to have no success in this league if you aren't ready and willing to battle."
The Blue Jackets had only 14 shots Tuesday.
"That was disgusting," forward Nick Foligno said. "It is embarrassing. I hope we have hit rock bottom here and understand that we are not a team that can play like this. This is the lowest of lows."
Sergei Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, gave up four goals on 18 shots before being pulled with 11 1/2 minutes left in the second period. Former Flame Curtis McElhinney didn't fare much better, giving up three on 14 shots.
It's unclear who will start in net for this contest. Bobrovsky suffered a 4-3 loss to Calgary in the first meeting Oct. 4 as Monahan scored his first NHL goal.
Calgary could start Reto Berra, who made 43 saves Monday. He's 2-4-1 with a 3.66 goals-against average in seven starts, though Hartley lauded his most recent effort.
"He's a very proud young man," Hartley said. "And despite the fact that he gave up the equalizing goal late in the game, he never lost his focus."
These teams have split the last four meetings while combining for 30 goals.