Flames look to end skid when they visit Canadiens (Jan 24, 2017)
MONTREAL -- The Calgary Flames have lost more than three straight only once so far this season. They'll look to keep it that way when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
The Flames (24-23-5) suffered their third consecutive loss on Monday night, falling 4-0 to the Maple Leafs in Toronto. The defeat came two days after dropping a 7-3 decision on home ice to the Edmonton Oilers.
"We just have to find a way to find wins," coach Glen Gulutzan said after Monday's game. "We didn't capitalize on our looks. We're just going to keep looking at the things we did well. I thought we did a lot of things well (against the Leafs). There are some things we obviously need to improve on but you just keep pushing what your agenda is. We just need to get pucks at the net and on the net. It doesn't have to be a kill shot every time, let's just hit the net."
After scoring five in a win against the Florida Panthers one week ago, Calgary has been limited to just six goals over its past three games while allowing 15. Not helping matters is the fact that the Flames have allowed the first goal in eight straight games, including multi-goal deficits in each game of their current skid.
"It's frustrating at times," Johnny Gaudreau said. "It's a lot easier playing when you start with the lead. So a lot of these we're starting behind it's tough to come back in this league. We have to be better with our starts, we keeping saying that and we've got to do that. I think we need to find a way to score on the power play."
The Flames' power play dropped to 14th in the NHL after being blanked on four occasions on Monday and has connected more than once with the man advantage only twice in 11 games in January.
While the Canadiens rank among the league's top teams on the power play, it's been largely due to their success on the road. Montreal sits 13th on home ice, clicking at 20 percent. Not only has the team managed just one power-play goal in four home games this month, it has struggled to even draw penalties over the last three games, earning a mere four opportunities.
The Habs (28-13-7) are in the middle of one of their toughest stretches of the schedule; Tuesday's tilt will be their ninth game in the last 16 days. They'll have to wait until mid-February for the newly instilled bye week.
"Everyone has the same schedule, basically. Some teams will hit it later in the season," Alexander Radulov said. "I won't lie to you, it's a tough stretch for the whole team. We've been playing since December almost every second day with some back-to-backs. Obviously (the bye week) is huge and I think it's going to help us."
Montreal got a hint of good news as several injured players joined the team for practice on Monday. But there was one notable absence in a recent returnee; Alex Galchenyuk "lightly" aggravated his knee injury on Saturday against the Sabres and will not face the Flames.
With the top center sidelined for at least one game, Phillip Danault will get the nod again between Max Pacioretty and Radulov after filling in admirably during Galchenyuk's previous absence.
"When you have injuries, it gives others an opportunity," coach Michel Therrien said. "Some are able to seize them and some need to go back and forth, which is completely normal. A guy like Danault, I think we can all agree, took advantage of the opportunity and is doing very well in a role that he's been in over the course of his career, but less so at the NHL level. It's great news for us."
Carey Price will get the start for the Canadiens. It's expected that Chad Johnson will get the nod for Calgary after Brian Elliott did so against Toronto.