After squandering a chance to exploit some bottom-rung teams at home, the Calgary Flames hit the road for a back-to-back beginning with Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flames surrendered 12 goals in dropping two games in a row to close out a 1-3-0 homestand that opened with a 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs on Nov. 28.
Calgary was lit up for seven goals by provincial rival Edmonton on Saturday before losing a 5-2 decision to reeling Philadelphia, which had dropped 10 in a row before Monday’s victory. “Whenever you lose, especially two at home in big games and three of your last four at home, there’s frustration in your game and in the players,” said Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan. “We certainly didn’t have the homestand we wanted, so there’s frustration.” Toronto’s bid for a three-game sweep of its three-game trek through Western Canada came up short when it surrendered two early goals in a 2-1 loss at Vancouver on Saturday night. ”You spend the whole night giving away two points because you weren’t prepared,“ coach Mike Babcock said. ”The schedule is set up the way it is, we have to do a better job, that’s all there is to it.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet, TVAS, NHL.TV
ABOUT THE FLAMES (14-12-1): Calgary’s lone win on the four-game homestand was a 3-0 victory over Western Conference-worst Arizona, but it was outscored 16-8 in the three defeats. Forward Troy Brouwer, who ended a 32-game goalless drought dating to last season, said the team must deal with adversity better. “It seems like sometimes we get a little bit down on ourselves and maybe that’s where us as leaders can do a little bit better job of making sure that guys stay up and stay excited and not get down on ourselves,” Brouwer said.
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (17-10-1): Goaltender Frederik Andersen has never lost to Calgary in regulation, improving to 6-0-1 after last week’s victory despite a save percentage of .898. Center Tyler Bozak missed the final game of the road trip due to food poisoning but finally returned to practice Tuesday, although Babcock said there’s a chance he could have William Nylander at center between James van Riemsdyk and Mitch Marner. “It’s something that … who knows?” Babock said. “If we got to use him, we will maybe try him there.”
1. Maple Leafs F Auston Matthews has been limited to an assist in three games versus Calgary.
2. Flames C Sam Bennett has two goals and four assists during a four-game point streak.
3. Toronto has killed 13 of 14 power plays over the past six games.
PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 4, Flames 3