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Flames seeking 6th win in row facing Canadiens

by Arpon Basu

FLAMES (21-27-7) at CANADIENS (29-21-6)


Last 10: Calgary 6-3-1; Montreal 3-6-1

Season series: This is the last of two games between the Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames. The Flames won 3-2 on Oct. 9.

Big story: The Flames are hot.

Calgary arrives in Montreal riding a season-high five-game winning streak, with three of those wins coming after regulation time. The Flames have scored 20 goals in those five games and may need that kind of offense to keep the streak going.

Calgary lost goaltender Karri Ramo to a knee injury during a 4-3 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, meaning Reto Berra will get the start against the Canadiens.

Berra has allowed 13 goals on 77 shots in his past four appearances, a save percentage of .831.

The Flames called up Joni Ortio from Abbotsford of the American Hockey League and he will be the backup in Montreal. But considering the Flames have made a goalie switch in three of the five games of their current winning streak, it’s possible Ortio gets in the game.

“Right now, it seems like every game we play, the two goalies, they get in,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said Monday, according to the team website. “It wouldn’t [take] much, looking at the trend that we’re in. We called [Ortio] up and we have full confidence in him. He played great in exhibition games.

“We’ll see how it goes.”

Team Scope:

Flames: It looks as though Calgary may get some help on defense against the Canadiens.

Defenseman Kris Russell, who sat out the win Saturday against the Wild, is expected to return.

“I didn’t talk to Kris yet but he did all practice, he was shooting well, he was doing everything good,” Hartley said. “I’m going to look for my medical staff later on, and probably [Tuesday] morning we’re going to make a final decision. Since he did all the contact drills and everything, he felt great, he was skating good, I’m hoping that he’s in the lineup [Tuesday].”

Canadiens: Montreal is about as cold as Calgary is hot, with two wins in its past eight games (2-5-1).

What’s been a problem all season continued while the Canadiens were being swept on their traditional back-to-back set of Super Bowl Weekend matinees by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Winnipeg Jets.

Montreal lost each game 2-1, which didn’t help the Canadiens climb out of the 29th spot in the NHL in 5-on-5 goals.

“It’s tough to win games when you only score one goal,” Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges said Sunday. “We have to find a way to score more than that.”

Who’s hot: Flames forward Mikael Backlund was named the NHL’s third star of the week after he put up four goals and two assists in three games. ... Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has stopped 103 of 107 shots for a .963 save percentage over his past three starts, and has one win to show for it.

Injury report: Ramo (knee) and Flames forward Curtis Glencross (lower body) are out. ... Canadiens defenseman Davis Drewiske (shoulder), and forwards Alex Galchenyuk (hand) and Ryan White (upper body) are out.

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