Flames look to seal winning trip vs. Isles
NEW YORK -- The Calgary Flames are staying afloat during a six-game Eastern Conference road trip. They will try to close the trek out in winning style Monday when they face the skidding New York Islanders at Barclays Center.
Both teams are coming off losses. Calgary fell to the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 Sunday night, while New York dropped a 3-2 decision to the Sharks in San Jose on Friday. The Islanders return home to open a brief two-game homestand.
The Flames already ensured themselves of at least a .500 trip (3-2-0). They enter play Monday two points behind the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars in the race for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
"It's a disappointing loss, but we have back-to-back games and we've got to finish this trip off on the right note," Flames defenseman Mark Giordano said Sunday night. "If we win (Monday), it's a 4-2 trip, and that's a good trip."
The Flames (10-13-1) should have some added motivation after giving up three unanswered goals in the second period Sunday night as the Flyers turned a tie game into a rout.
"I was very disappointed with our guys after the first," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "I let them know that and it didn't get any better in the second. There's no system for being outworked."
If there were, perhaps Islanders coach Jack Capuano would feel better about his team's fortunes. New York, which reached the second round of the playoffs last spring for the first time since 1993, enters Monday with a 6-10-4 record. The Islanders have the fewest wins and points (16) in the NHL.
Eight of the Islanders' losses were by one goal. New York allowed the go-ahead goal in the final three minutes of the third period five times, including Friday, when the Islanders tied the score with 57.2 seconds remaining, only to give up the winning goal to the Sharks with 22.5 seconds to play.
"It's just mind-boggling," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We played one of the best games we've played. We came in here against San Jose -- Stanley Cup finalists -- (and we) dominate the third period. No puck luck right now. There is no explanation."
Also a fact for the Islanders: They are all but buried in the playoff race already. New York is a whopping nine points behind the New Jersey Devils in the race for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
The goalie matchup Monday likely will pit the Islanders' No. 1 netminder, Jaroslav Halak, against Flames backup Brian Elliott.
Halak didn't play Friday but started eight of the Islanders' first 10 games in November. He is 8-5-1 in his career against the Flames. He stopped 31 of 32 shots to earn the win the last time the two teams played on Feb. 25, when New York captured a 2-1 victory at Calgary.
Elliott lost his job to the surging Chad Johnson, who took the defeat Sunday to fall to 6-3-0 this month. A start Monday would be just the sixth in November for Elliott, who is 4-1-3 in nine career appearances against the Islanders. He last faced New York while playing for the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 4, 2015, when he stopped 24 of 25 shots but took the loss in the shootout as the Blues fell 2-1.