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Game Preview: Islanders at Flames

The Islanders look to douse the Flames in Calgary (4 p.m., MSG+)

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

New York Islanders (30-22-11) at Calgary Flames (35-26-4)



Radio: AM970 - The Answer, 88.7FM WRHU, 103.9FM LI News

After picking up three-of-four points in Dallas and Chicago, the New York Islanders nine-game road trip takes a turn to Western Canada. The Islanders went 3-1 in Western Canada last season and playing Calgary has been especially good to the Isles, who are riding a five-game winning streak over the Flames. 

The Islanders enter Sunday's game in the second wild card seed in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders (71 points) are one ahead of the Toronto (70) and two points ahead of Florida (69), with the Islanders holding a game in hand on both teams. 

Hamonic Has Assist in Return:

Travis Hamonic returned to the Islanders' lineup on Friday night, playing for the first time since Jan. 7. 

Hamonic recorded an assist in his return and logged 21:18 TOI in his return, including 1:41 on the penalty kill. The 26-year-old defenseman skated on a pairing with Adam Pelech, who drew back into the lineup after missing seven games as a healthy scratch. 

Hamonic's return gives the Islanders eight healthy defenseman heading into Western Canada, so two will have to sit out on a nightly basis. On Friday, that was Thomas Hickey and Scott Mayfield, but Doug Weight told reporters that Hickey - a Calgary, AB, native - would be back in on Sunday. 

Greiss in Goal:

Weight also told reporters on Saturday that Thomas Greiss would be in goal for Sunday's contest. Greiss made 30 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night and was also in goal for a 5-4 win over Dallas on Thursday. 

Video: CGY@NYI: Hickey redirects Tavares' shot for OT winner

Hickey Vs. Calgary:

Thomas Hickey puts on a show for his hometown whenever the Islanders and Flames meet. Hickey has five points (3G, 2A) in six games against the Flames, one of his highest totals and points-per-game ratios against any team. The three goals also tie his highest mark vs. one team (Columbus) though Hickey has played 10 more games vs. the Blue Jackets. 

Hickey scored the OT-winner against the Flames in a 2-1 OT win on Nov. 28 in Brooklyn. 

Flames Getting Hot:

The Calgary Flames are heating up down the stretch, bringing a six-game winning streak into Sunday's action. 

The Flames are 11-2-1 in their last 14 games, turning a 24-24-3 record into their current 35-26-4 mark. In the process they went from having a tenuous one-point hold on the second wild card spot in the Western Conference to the first wild card with a seven-point cushion.

Mikael Backlund leads the Flames with 46 points (20G, 26A), while Johnny Gaudreau has 43 points (13G, 30A) in 55 games. Rookie Matthew Tkachuk is third in team scoring with 42 points (12G, 30A) and Dougie Hamilton leads all Flames blue liners with 39 points (10G, 29A). 

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