The ambiance was incredible. And the memories will last a lifetime. Only thing that would have made it better is if they could have grabbed both points instead of leaving Regina with just one. The Flames are coming off a 2-1 ovetime loss Saturday night to the Winnipeg Jets at the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic in the Queen City. Lindholm staked his side to a 1-0 lead in the second period on the powerplay, Gaudreau and Tkachuk picking up the helpers. Calgary boy Josh Morrissey tied it up for the Jets at the 15:49 mark of the third period before Bryan Little finished off a textbook 2-on-1 in extra time, tipping home the cross-ice pass from Kyle Connor 3:04 into extra time. David Rittich had a monster game between the pipes, making an outdoor-game record 43 saves - 17 of them in the third period and OT. "We played good for most of the night, but in the third period they came out pretty strong and we didn't have an answer for it early," said Tkachuk. "But they don't give you two points for playing well for most of the game. You've got to finish 'er off." Flames head coach Bill Peters made some significant changes to his lines for the game, including playing Lindholm at centre between Gaudreau and Tkachuk. "They were fine. We'll leave them like that," he said after. "Roughly. We might make a tweak here or there, but I liked them. I thought we were deep." To see Lineup Notes with line combos from yesterday's practice in Raleigh, click here … The Flames have collected three points while playing lots of extra hockey in their last two games, beating the Panthers 6-5 in a shootout at home on Thursday.
The 'Canes have been great in their home barn this season, most recently shutting out the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 on Saturday night. Andrei Svechnikov scored on a powerplay in the first, Nino Niederreiter got his first of the new campaign in the second, and Jordan Staal added aother extra-man marker in the third. Svechnikov added his second of the night with 1:11 to play to round out the scoring. It wasn't a cheap empty-netter, but an impressive battle in the crease to knock the puck in on his second attempt. Petr Mrazek stopped 32 shots on the night. He has now won his last 13 starts at PNC Arena. "Phenomenal. He was sharp," coach Rob Brind'Amour told Hurricanes.com after the game. "The difference in coming out with a decent first period was because of him. It enabled us to just keep going, and he was solid all the way." As for Niederreiter, he was happy to get off the schneid and finally tally: "At the end of the day, (Brind'Amour) wants us to just work hard and do the little things right. Everything else would come," Niederreiter said. "It has been a while since the puck went in, so I'm very happy to find one in." … The 'Canes had lost three of four on the road prior to that victory, edging the Kings 2-0 before losing 5-2 to the Sharks, 4-2 to the Ducks and 4-3 in overtime to the Blue Jackets.
3. US vs THEM
Despite just playing a few times a season, the Flames and Hurricanes know each other well thanks to the Big Trade. Last year, Lindholm, Noah Hanifin, Derek Ryan, and Peters played their former squad for the first time since that June 23, 2018 deal. Lindholm and Ryan were both point-per-game guys against the Hurricanes last season with two points in two games for both the former 'Canes. Hanifin would notch a goal in the series as they picked pick up two wins - a 3-2 victory in overtime at the Scotiabank Saddledome and 4-3 on the road on Feb. 3.
4. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER
THIS: Rittich played in both games against the Hurricanes a season ago picking up both wins while posting a 2.49 Sv% and a .931 ... THAT:Sean Monahan set his career high with four points (1G, 3A) in the club's 4-1 win over Carolina in February of 2016 and played in career game number 300 on February 26, 2017 ... THE OTHER: The Flames have started this season with a record of 3-1-0 against Eastern Conference opponents.
5. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Flames: C Elias Lindholm
Seems like an easy pull - after all, Lindholm is leading the team in goals and is on a three-game point streak. Still, his recent play and new role at centre = keep your eye on him.
Hurricanes: RW Andrei Svechnikov
Scored two goals in their last outing and is second in team scoring with 10 points. 'Nuff said.