5 THINGS - FLAMES @ ISLANDERS
Flames look to extend winning streak as road trip continuesby RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com
FLAMES (39-16-7; 85 PTS) at ISLANDERS (36-18-7; 79 PTS)
5:00 p.m. | TV: Sportsnet West | RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN
Season Series: 1-0-0
Flames Road Record: 19-11-2
Islanders Home Record: 18-7-4 (12-6-2 at Barclays Center; 6-1-2 at Nassau Coliseum)
Points - Johnny Gaudreau (79)
Goals - Gaudreau (30)
Points - Mathew Barzal (51)
Goals - Anders Lee (21)
Video: Brendan Parker sets up the match-up on Long Island
The Flames enter the night on a five-game winning streak after posting a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday to open a three-game road trip. Austin Czarnik scored the go-ahead goal with only 40.7 seconds left in the third period with a sensational backhand shot, while David Rittich - making his first start in 12 days - made 22 saves to improve to 21-5-5 on the year. Mikael Backlund also scored for the Flames, who heavily outplayed the Sens, outshooting the homeside 35-23. … Mark Giordano (maintenance) did not participate in Monday's practice at Nassau Coliseum, but will play tonight. … Mike Smith will get the start in goal. The veteran is on a personal four-game winning streak and carries a .929 save percentage in his last five starts (4-0-1). … "I've liked a lot of the things we've done here recently," said head coach Bill Peters following Monday's practice in Uniondale. "(The Islanders) are very poised; very good in their own zone. They don't allow you to get to the net easily. You can spend some time in there, but you've got to make sure you're not getting content to being on the perimeters. That'll be our challenge (tonight) - making sure we're at the net with pucks and bodies. … On Monday, the Flames acquired defenceman Oscar Fantenberg from the L.A. Kings in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 Draft. The 27-year-old has two goals and three points, and is averaging more than 16 minutes per game in ice time, in 46 outings with the Kings this year. It's unclear at this point when Fantenberg will arrive, or if he'll be in the lineup this evening. …Following tonight's game, the Flames will bus across Manhattan and set up shop for the second of back-to-back games on Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils.
Video: "I'm really excited to be a part of Calgary now."
The Islanders are opening a five-game homestand after picking up three of a possible six points on a Western Canadian road swing last week that included a 4-2 loss to the Flames on Wednesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Isles bounced back and finished the trip with a 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, with Casey Cizikas, Ryan Pulock, Anthony Beauvillier and Cal Clutterbuck supplying the offence. Robin Lehner, who leads the NHL in both save percentage (.931) and goals-against average (2.07) made 36 saves to record his fourth shutout of the season - tied with Jaroslav Halak and fellow Islander Thomas Greiss for the fifth-most, league-wide. "Honestly, I just want to win with this team," Lehner told Kevin Woodley of NHL.com following the victory in Vancouver. "Every point we get with this group feels amazing. We're still pushing in the standings and we're having a good year. ... "We were having a little bit of a slump and this is the type of game we needed to regroup." … With the win, the Islanders now have a two-point cushion on the defending Cup champ Washington Capitals for first in the Metro Division, with two games in hand. The Islanders are 22-6-3 in their last 31 games dating back to Dec. 15, which is tied for the most wins and the best record in the entire NHL since that date. … The Isles, led by first-year general manager Lou Lamoriello, did not make any trades on Monday, but will be getting some reinforcements, anyway, with the addition of forward Andrew Ladd and defenceman Thomas Hickey after a long haul in sick bay. Ladd has been out since Nov. 15 with a lower-body injury, while Hickey has missed the past 28 games with a possible head injury. Ladd will line up on the second line in place of Tom Kuhnhackl, while Hickey will pair with rookie Devon Toews. Scott Mayfield will be the odd-man out on the blueline.
US VS. THEM
This is the second meeting in less than a week after the Flames doubled up the visiting Islanders 4-2 last Wednesday at the 'Dome. Mikael Backlund, former Islander Travis Hamonic , Austin Czarnik and Johnny Gaudreau had the goals, while Mike Smith stopped 17 of 19 shots in the win. The Flames opened up a 2-0 lead with a strong first period, lost it, then scored a pair only 29 seconds apart early in the final frame to secure victory in their home barn. A late fracas rounded out the proceedings, with Garnet Hathaway in the middle of it, setting the table for what could be an emotional rematch here tonight.
Video: Flames net two quick goals in the 3rd, top Islanders
THIS, THAT & THE OTHER
THIS: The Flames are entering their seventh back-to-back games this season. They're currently 6-0-0 in front half in those sets. ... THAT: Travis Hamonic was drafted by the Islanders in the 2008 NHL Draft (second round, 53rd overall). Hamonic played in 444 games on the island, recording 26 goals and 146 points from 2010-2017. ... THE OTHER: The Islanders have allowed an NHL-low 146 goals through 61 games this season. Their 136 goals allowed through 57 games was a new franchise record for fewest goals allowed through that number of games.
Video: "Tons of great memories here."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Flames - Austin Czarnik
The scrappy young winger has goals in four of his last five skates, including three game-winners. In those five games, he leads the Flames with a 63.41% Corsi (52-30), has earned 68.42% (26-12) of the scoring chances, 62.50% (10-6) of the high-danger chances, and has done so with only a 41.67% offensive zone-start percentage (lowest among the Flames' 19 skaters). … "He's an elite offensive player and you're starting to see that," Peters said. "He's probably got some more confidence now than he did earlier in the year. It's good that he's been able to be in the lineup and have a rhythm of being in the lineup. .... (Monday), we did a lot of powerplay and penalty-kill work, and I thought he was outstanding distributing the puck. He sees the ice real well."
Islanders - Andrew Ladd
The former standout with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen is likely to return after missing the past 44 games with a lower-body injury. The 33-year-old is in his third year with the Islanders, and has posted three goals and seven points in 14 games this year before going down Nov. 13. Ladd played two games with the Islanders' AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, scoring once and adding four helpers during a brief conditioning stint late last week.