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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 4th (All times Eastern)
Calgary Flames (21-27-7) at Montreal Canadiens (29-21-6), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames will see if they can take their recent hot streak on the road when they shoot for a sixth consecutive win Monday night in Montreal.
The Flames went 5-0 during a recent residency at the Saddledome, sweeping a five-game homestand for the first time since Feb. 7-15, 1997. The hot stretch at home came just two weeks after the Flames set a franchise record by losing seven straight in their own building.
Calgary, however, has lost three straight and eight of its last 10 on the road, but the Flames hope to pick up an away win when they visit the Canadiens tonight at the Bell Centre.
The Flames are just 9-13-4 as the guest this season, and despite the recent surge, the club is still 14 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Calgary is beginning a three-game swing on Tuesday. The Flames will visit the New York Islanders on Thursday before playing their last game before the Olympic break Saturday in Philadelphia.
Calgary capped its perfect homestand on Saturday by picking up a 4-3 overtime win against Minnesota. The Flames carried a 2-1 lead into the third and built a 3-1 cushion just a minute into the period before the Wild scored twice over the final 10 minutes of regulation to send the game to OT.
Mikael Backlund scored the game-winner in overtime for Calgary, giving him two goals on the night. T.J. Galiardi added a goal and an assist for the Flames and Dennis Wideman also lit the lamp.
The Flames did lose goaltender Karri Ramo to a sprained medial collateral ligament on Saturday, as he left the game late in the first period and did not return. Reto Berra stopped 14-of-17 shots in relief.
Ramo will miss his team's final three games before the Olympics and the Flames have recalled goaltender Joni Ortio from Abbotsford of the American Hockey League to assist Berra with the netminding duties.
"Reto (Berra) gets the start in Montreal," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "He came in big for us last game. We have three games left. We're in the business of playing the ones who perform."
The Canadiens enter this evening's test having lost two straight at the start of a four-game homestand. Montreal, which has dropped four of six overall, was handed a 2-1 overtime setback by Tampa Bay on Saturday and lost by the same score in regulation the next day versus Winnipeg.
Michael Frolik scored the winner in the third period and Al Montoya made 30 saves to help the Jets down the Habs. Brian Gionta scored the only goal and Carey Price allowed both goals on 33 shots for the Canadiens.
"We were intense today and hit two posts, but Montoya made some good key saves," said Montreal head coach Michel Therrien. "Sure we would like to score more goals, but I liked the intensity we showed today."
Montreal is currently holding onto the seventh of eight playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Habs are two points in front of Detroit and Philadelphia for that distinction and Montreal is two in back of Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division.
The Canadiens pulled off a minor trade on Monday, acquiring forward Dale Weise from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenseman Raphael Diaz. Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin said Weise "brings additional toughness and grit to our group of forwards."
Weise, 25, had three goals, nine assists and 65 hits in 44 games for the Canucks this season. For his career, he has totaled 10 goals, 16 assists and 185 penalty minutes in 162 games with the New York Rangers and Canucks.
The 28-year-old Diaz posted 11 assists and blocked 100 shots in 46 games with the Canadiens in 2013-14. The Swiss native has four goals and 37 helpers in 128 career games, all with Montreal.
Including this evening's test, the Canadiens have three games left before the NHL goes on hiatus for the Winter Olympics. Montreal is set to complete its four-game stay at the Bell Centre on Thursday against Vancouver before visiting Carolina on Saturday.
The Canadiens, who are 15-10-4 as the host this season, have lost two of their last three home games against the Flames, although the clubs last met in Montreal on Oct. 13, 2011 when Calgary notched a 4-1 triumph.
The Flames have taken four in a row in this series and boast a 7-0-1 record in their last eight tilts against Montreal.
02/04 10:47:25 ET
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