CALGARY, Alberta — The Florida Panthers haven’t lost a road game in more than a month.
It’s a trend that they’re hoping continues when they visit the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday night.
The Panthers (20-17-8) won four straight road games dating back to Dec. 15, when they lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre.
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Goalie James Reimer, who made 30 saves to backstop Florida to a 4-3 win at home in Sunrise, Fla., on Saturday, said the Panthers have to keep finding ways to win to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
“Getting a win helps put us in a better spot regardless,” Reimer told the Miami Herald. “We’re going on the road and you try and win that first one, then see how the rest shakes out. Any time a team has success on the road, people start wondering why.
“Some of it is guys coming together on the road, less distractions. But we seem to play our best on the road. We just need to mimic that at home.”
One night after taking on the Flames in Calgary, the Panthers will face off against the Oilers in Edmonton. They’ll then travel to Vancouver to play the Canucks on Friday before finishing up their four-game road trip next Monday in Glendale, Ariz., against the Arizona Coyotes.
“We have to stay in the fight here,” Florida coach Tom Rowe told the Herald. “We’re trying to catch that eighth spot (in the Eastern Conference), so every point is going to be huge.”
The Panthers recalled defenseman Dylan McIlrath from the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds to bring their roster to the maximum of 23 players.
Meanwhile, the Flames (23-20-3) received some good news on Monday when left winger Micheal Ferland practiced with the team after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury.
“I feel good,” Ferland told reporters after practice. “It feels good to be back skating and hopefully I can get in (on Tuesday). You never want to miss any games.”
While Ferland returned to the ice, rookie right winger Garnet Hathaway missed Monday’s practice with a lower-body injury that will keep him out of the lineup on a day-to-day basis.
When they take on the Panthers, the Flames will be looking to bounce back from consecutive 2-1 losses, including a disappointing shootout setback to the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday.
“What we want is to keep winning games and get into the playoffs,” defenseman Dougie Hamilton told reporters. “We’re focused on the now. There’s obviously a lot of games left. We’ve just got to keep grinding it out and focusing on the little things.”
Veteran center Matt Stajan said that the Flames, who have held opposing teams to just nine goals in their past five games, have to continue to concentrate on playing solid defensively in the second half of the NHL season.
“It’s the mistakes and turnovers that’ll kill you at this time of the year,” said Stajan. “If you play solid defensively and on top of the puck, you’re going to get your chances in every game. I like our chances with the offense we have, so if we can just stick with that, we’ll win games.”