The Calgary Flames finally ended a team-record home losing streak, though a slew of other problems remain.
The Nashville Predators added to the overall woes last week, and now the Flames get a rematch Friday as they seek their first back-to-back victories in over a month.
The Flames (17-27-7) own 41 points – only slightly better than Edmonton (36) in the Western Conference – and are 8-14-3 at home. They were outscored 22-4 during a recent seven-game home skid that was part of an overall 3-12-3 stretch from Dec. 15-Jan. 20.
Those 18 games, which included a 4-2 loss at Nashville (23-22-7) on Jan. 14, followed Calgary’s previous back-to-back wins against Carolina and at Buffalo from Dec. 12-14.
The Flames ended their home slide Wednesday, scoring the first two goals in a 3-2 win over Phoenix that opened a five-game homestand.
"That’s what good teams do and that’s the difference between tops teams," Joe Colborne told the team’s official website. "They can string together wins and take advantage of homestands like this. Bad teams don’t. (Nashville’s) a big test."
Colborne was moved from center to the wing against the Coyotes and got his first point in 11 games with an assist on the opening tally by Sean Monahan.
"Obviously he’s on a trial basis," coach Bob Hartley said. "You look at center, we have three young centermen with (Mikael) Backlund, Monahan and Colbie and we have (Matt Stajan). I want to fast-forward all of those guys’ progression … "
"I feel that because of Colbie with his size, he can work the boards. Right now he’s learning a new position. I think that whether we put him back at center or keep him on the wing, it’s going to make him a better player."
Monahan leads the Flames with 14 goals and ranks third among rookies behind Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (17) and San Jose’s Tomas Hertl (15). He was held without a point and managed one shot last week in Calgary’s fifth straight loss at Nashville (23-22-7).
The Flames, though, have won four of five at home against the Predators, including a 6-3 victory in the latest meeting there March 15. Stajan had three assists in that one – his only points in his past seven against Nashville.
The Predators are looking to beat Calgary again after last week’s win opened a 4-1-0 stretch. Their 18 goals in that time are four more than in their previous seven (1-3-3).
"This team has got a lot of backbone, a lot of character and this group cares about each other so when things are a little bit rough they dig in and that’s a great quality to have," coach Barry Trotz said.
Nashville used a pair of third-period goals to power Thursday’s 2-1 win at Vancouver in the opener of a four-game swing through western Canada.
Nick Spaling has two goals and three assists in five games. The center got one of each Thursday, including the eventual winner on a power play midway through the third period.
Spaling’s nine goals are one shy of his career high from 2011-12, and he’s managed two goals and three assists during a five-game point streak against Calgary.
Carter Hutton hasn’t started back-to-back games all season, but he’s won four straight starts with a 1.72 goals-against average after making 33 saves Thursday. That stretch includes 22 stops in his first career meeting with the Flames.
Devan Dubnyk, however, is 4-0-1 with a 1.39 GAA in his past five games against them, making 27 saves for Edmonton in a 2-0 win at Calgary on Dec. 27.