It’s been a tough start for the Calgary Flames, but they’re beginning to look like their old selves.
Fresh off a stirring comeback victory characteristic of last season’s surprise playoff run, the Flames look to continue the momentum when they begin a three-game trip Sunday night against the New York Rangers.
Calgary (2-5-0) had lost four straight and appeared on the way to another defeat Thursday against Detroit, but Joe Colborne scored with 1:12 remaining in regulation and Mark Giordano’s goal 3:12 into overtime lifted the Flames to a 3-2 win.
The Flames had 10 wins when trailing after two periods and tied for first in the NHL with nine overtime victories en route to ending a five-year postseason absence in 2014-15.
”We deserved that one, I thought, and got rewarded late," said Giordano, who finished with two goals and an assist in Calgary’s first win in five home games this season.
The Flames were also aided by improved goaltending, with Jonas Hiller making 27 saves after he and Karri Ramo surrendered 11 goals over the previous two losses.
”He stepped up,” said forward Sean Monahan. ”He played a great game for us, kept us in it and made some really timely saves. It’s a big credit to him for that win.”
Calgary still ranks near the bottom of the NHL in goals allowed per game (3.86) and save percentage (.877). Ramo, who started the final four games of last May’s Western Conference semifinals series with Anaheim, was demoted to the minors Thursday after particularly struggling.
The Flames would likely benefit from another sharp goaltending performance, as the Rangers are 5-0-0 when scoring three goals or more and have lost all four times when falling short of that mark.
New York (5-2-2) has had some early defensive issues as well, allowing an average of 32.9 shots per game. The Rangers have still earned points in four straight after Henrik Lundqvist recorded 46 saves in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss at Philadelphia that snapped a two-game win streak.
"I felt really good during the game, but in the shootout, I wasn’t good enough at all," Lundqvist told the Rangers’ official website.
Lundqvist will rest Sunday following the busy effort, with Antti Raanta seeking to build off an impressive Rangers debut on Monday. The offseason acquisition turned away 22 shots in a 4-0 victory over San Jose at Madison Square Garden.
Raanta had 23 saves in a 2-1 win over Calgary while with Chicago on Dec. 14, improving to 2-0-0 in three career meetings.
He’s never lost in regulation at home, going 15-0-3 with a 1.51 goals-against average and four shutouts in 20 appearances with the Blackhawks and Rangers.
Hiller owns a 1.36 GAA in five starts against the Rangers but hasn’t faced them since a 34-save shutout with Anaheim on Oct. 10, 2013.
New York won both games between the teams last season and has prevailed in five of the last six matchups. Calgary, which visits the Islanders Monday before concluding this trek Wednesday in Ottawa, has lost three straight at MSG since a 3-0 win on Dec. 7, 2008.
Rangers forward Viktor Stalberg will miss the game after sustaining a head injury on Saturday.