NEWARK, N.J. — Thursday night at the Prudential Center, the Calgary Flames bring their very successful road show into town as they face off with the New Jersey Devils.
The Flames are unbeaten in their last six road contests, with five wins in regulation and one overtime loss, and are tied with the Boston Bruins for the fewest road regulation losses on the season (5). All told, they are an impressive 14-5-5 away from the Saddledome.
All of this bodes well for a team in the midst of a season-high six-game road trip.
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“There’s a lot of trust there, we play a simple game on the road and it’s a key to our success,” Flames goaltender Mike Smith said.
The road trip began for the Flames with a 3-2 victory in Chicago over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night which capped a home-and-home sweep following Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win.
Sean Monahan had the overtime winner in Calgary and he scored the game-winning goal in Chicago, as well. Defensemen Michael Stone and Dougie Hamilton also scored Tuesday, while Smith turned aside 34 shots.
“It was good to get the two points — at this point of the year it’s any way you can get them,” Monahan told the team’s web site. “This isn’t the way we wanted to do it, but getting the two points was most important.”
All-Star winger Johnny Gaudreau had a pair of assists in Tuesday’s victory and enters Wednesday second in the NHL with 45 helpers. With 61 points, Gaudreau is one of only nine players in the league with at least 60. Monahan has 25 goals, one of 11 players to reach that plateau already this year.
To keep their run of road success alive Thursday, the Flames need to find a way past an angry Devils (27-17-8) team that had its three-game winning streak snapped with a 5-3 loss to the struggling Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
“It’s about respecting our opponent no matter what their record is,” Devils winger Taylor Hall told reporters after the defeat. “We have to come out and not take for granted points in this league. It’s tough to squander points like that.”
Hall scored his team-high 19th goal in the loss. Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac also tallied goals, and Pavel Zacha added a pair of assists.
However, New Jersey fell behind 4-1, allowed two power play goals and saw goalie Keith Kinkaid pulled after surrendering four goals on 20 shots. Veteran Eddie Lack replaced Kinkaid — starting his fourth straight with Cory Schneider sidelined with a lower-body injury — and allowed one goal in his Devils debut.
“We weren’t good enough in any area,” said Devils coach John Hynes. “We’ve got to be better Thursday.”
The Flames expect exactly that, a better bounce back effort from the Devils.
“They’re a good team,” Flames defenseman Brett Kulak told the team’s web site. “We played them once back in November and I just remember they were really fast and they’re always looking for the offense. We’ve got to be on our toes and be ready for that. We know the kind of team they are, how good they are.”
In the previous meeting on Nov. 5, the Flames beat the Devils in a shootout, 5-4, in Calgary. Michael Frolik had a goal and an assist for the Flames in that win, and on Thursday he is expected to play in his 700th career National Hockey League game.