Published January 28, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames have opened a five-game homestand with consecutive wins, but in order to claim three straight victories for the first time this season they'll have to beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
On the other hand, the Blackhawks will try to avoid their longest losing streak since the 2011-12 season when they visit the Flames for Tuesday's clash at the Saddledome.
Calgary is 2-0 on its homestand after beating Phoenix and Nashville last week. Wednesday's 3-2 win over Phoenix halted a four-game slide and the Flames were able to follow it up two days later with a 5-4 shootout decision over the Predators. Despite the back-to-back wins, Calgary is still only 9-14-3 at home this season.
The Flames only won three straight games once during the lockout-shortened season of 2013, as they managed to go 3-0 from April 17-21.
Calgary hasn't played since Friday when it withstood a four-goal effort from Nashville's Eric Nystrom to post a 5-4 shootout win. The Flames overcame a 4-3 third-period deficit to force overtime and Sean Monahan registered the shootout winner in the decisive phase.
With the shootout score tied at 1-1 through six shooters, Monahan went through the middle and slid the puck through the legs of Dubnyk before Ryan Ellis was stopped by Reto Berra to end the game. After Karri Ramo allowed three goals on 12 shots, Berra made 12 saves in relief for the win.
David Jones supplied two goals, while Mark Giordano and Mikael Backlund each added a power-play goal in Calgary's second straight win. Backlund and Jones scored 69 seconds apart late in regulation to send the game to OT.
"Great third period. I think we know we are dealing with a lot of young players and there's not a better way to show character than we did tonight," said Calgary head coach Bob Hartley. "Reto came in and shut the door and made some pretty big saves and got the game in a shootout. Jiri and Monny gave us some big goals."
The Flames will continue their homestand on Thursday against San Jose before capping it in Saturday's tilt versus the Minnesota Wild.
The Blackhawks enter Tuesday's test on an 0-2-1 slide, but the reigning champs have recorded wins in four of the past five meetings against the Flames. Chicago also has claimed two straight and nine of the past 13 matchups at the Saddledome.
Chicago began its current slide with last Wednesday's 5-4 shootout loss in Detroit and has since dropped consecutive regulation decisions against Minnesota and Winnipeg.
The Blackhawks managed to score only one goal in each of their last two setbacks and were dealt a 3-1 loss by visiting Winnipeg on Sunday despite taking a lead into the third period. Blake Wheeler scored twice and Andrew Ladd once in a three-goal third period for the triumphant Jets.
Corey Crawford stopped only 18 shots in defeat, while Al Montoya turned aside 34 for Winnipeg.
"I think the first 40 (minutes), we gave up nothing," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We get an unfortunate bounce right to their guy (Wheeler) and it's a 1-1 game. We made an uncharacteristic giveaway on the winning goal (by Ladd). Tough loss for sure."
Brandon Bollig tallied for the Blackhawks, who failed to produce a win in their final home game before the Olympic break. Chicago embarks on a seven- game road trip tonight and won't play its next game in the Windy City until March 1 against Pittsburgh.
The Blackhawks will continue their lengthy swing tomorrow night in Vancouver.