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PREVIEW - FLAMES VS. CANADIENS

by TY PILSON @typilson / calgaryflames.com

CANADIENS (38-21-8) VS. FLAMES (36-26-4)

BROADCAST: 7 p.m. MT; Sportsnet West, Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio)

SEASON SERIES: This will be the second and final matchup between the clubs this regular season. The Habs are up 1-0 after beating the Flames in Montreal 5-1 on Jan. 24. It was the fourth loss in a row for the Flames, who snapped out of that funk with a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators two nights later. Since that Jan. 24 loss in Montreal, the Flames have been - if you'll pardon the pun - red hot! They've posted a 12-2-1 record, tops in the league over that time span. They're currently riding a seven-game winning streak. As for the Habs, they've managed to string together six straight wins.   

CANADIENS' TEAM SCOPE: Former Flame Paul Byron was the hero Tuesday night for the Habs, scoring just 1:13 into OT as Montreal won 2-1 in Vancouver. Carey Price, who has rounded back into his arguably-the-best-goalie-in-the-world form, made 27 saves against the Canucks and has won five straight starts. His save percentage is an incredible .964 over that period. "It's not just me, it's our defensive play in general," Price told NHL.com after the win in Vancouver. "Our guys did a good job of keeping everything to the outside and battling for the rebounds I left out there." Max Pacioretty leads Montreal in scoring with 31 goals and 58 points. He is tied with Leafs rookie phenom Auston Matthews and Pens star Evgeni Malkin for fourth in NHL goal scoring. Unheralded off-season signing Alexander Radulov is second in team scoring with 15 goals and 46 points while much-heralded off-season acquisition Shea Weber also has 15 goals and 38 points.

FLAMES' TEAM SCOPE: Both Flames wins this month have come on home-ice, first edging the Red Wings 3-2 in overtime on March 3 and jumping out to a 4-0 first period lead en route to a 5-2 win over the Islanders March 5. The club now has points in a season-high nine straight home games (8-0-1). Not content with the wild-card playoff spot they currently sit in, the team has set their sights on loftier perchs in the standings. "We've been saying it for the last few games here: It's time to start looking ahead,'' said captain Mark Giordano after the win over the Islanders. "Trying to start catching the teams ahead of us. There are going to be important games. There are going to be opportunities. We've got to stay within striking distance. Any time you get on a streak like this, you want to pile up as many as you can. Because you know it's not going to last forever. It's fun. They're nice. But you want to pile up as many as you can." An eighth straight win Thursday would equal the team record for consecutive victories, a mark achieved three times since the Flames moved north from Atalanta to Calgary. 

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