The Calgary Flames may have seen a glimpse of their future in their first game after the trading deadline.
While it’s unknown if goaltender Joni Ortio will get another start Friday night, Markus Granlund will try to build on his first NHL goal during a visit from the struggling New York Islanders.
Calgary (24-31-7) traded away goaltender Reto Berra and forward Lee Stempniak before Wednesday’s deadline but picked up its second win in three games that night. Ortio stopped 30 shots – 13 in the third period – in a 4-1 victory over Ottawa for his first NHL win.
Granlund’s milestone goal in the first period helped spark the Flames toward an insurmountable three-goal lead after 40 minutes.
"For our team meeting, I told them this is our team so let’s go," coach Bob Hartley said. "The players deserve the reputation of being one of the hardest working teams in the league and I said, ‘we’re not going to throw this away in the last stretch.’"
The performance gave Calgary its sixth home win in seven games and helped it bounce back from a 3-2 defeat at Minnesota on Monday. The Flames gave up the two goals in the third period and couldn’t find the equalizer after Mark Giordano scored with less than four minutes remaining.
They’ll try to continue their momentum from Wednesday’s victory when they face an Islanders team that’s 3-8-2 in its last 13. New York, though, had won back-to-back road games before a 3-2 overtime defeat to Edmonton on Thursday.
Frans Nielsen and Anders Lee gave the Islanders a 2-0 lead after one period, but the Oilers scored twice in the third period and got the tying goal with 3:07 remaining in regulation. New York (24-32-9) has lost 10 games in which it’s led heading into the third period and its .474 winning percentage in such scenarios is easily the worst in the league.
"I wish I had an answer for that," forward Michael Grabner said. "We have to try and bear down. We had some chances on some 2-on-1s that we didn’t take advantage of. We have to try and make it 3-0, and 4-0 and not just sit back.
"It’s been happening too much lately."
The Islanders were playing their first game after trading Thomas Vanek to Montreal and defenseman Andrew MacDonald to Philadelphia before the deadline.
The Islanders rallied from a two-goal deficit in their only other matchup with Calgary this season Feb. 6, but David Jones snapped a 2-all tie with 5:32 left in the Flames’ 4-2 victory.
The result allowed Calgary to end a three-game skid in the series. The Flames are hosting the Islanders for the first time since a 5-2 loss Jan. 3, 2011, and have dropped three of the last four meetings at the Saddledome.
They might have leading scorer Jiri Hudler available for this visit. The winger was knocked out of Wednesday’s victory early in the third period with an upper-body injury.
Dennis Wideman also left the game after the second period due to an upper-body ailment.