SUNRISE (SportsDirect Inc.) — The Florida Panthers look to start another winning streak and continue their quest for a playoff spot when they host the surging Calgary Flames on Friday.
The Panthers saw their five-game winning streak – all on the road – come to an end Wednesday with a 4-3 setback against Edmonton, dropping to 14-11-3 at home, but interim coach Tom Rowe was nothing but positive afterward.
“There’s a lot of good stuff going on here, and one game isn’t going to get us off track,” Rowe told reporters after his team fell to 8-2-1 in its last 11. “We’ll regroup and get ready to play Calgary. … We knew we were going to be in playoff position. We’re there, and we’re going to get it done.”
The Flames have earned points in four straight (3-0-1) and eight of their last 10 games (7-2-1) after a solid 3-2 victory at Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Calgary continues to collect wins without receiving goals from Johnny Gaudreau, who has gone scoreless in nine, as several players are stepping up.
“I think everybody had the same game plan and played it to a tee,” Flames goaltender Brian Elliott told reporters Thursday. “We got down 1-0 off a tip from the point, and the guys really didn’t get too low on it and we just battled back.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Calgary), FSN Florida
ABOUT THE FLAMES (31-26-4): Gaudreau has had trouble putting the puck in the net of late but still has registered nine assists in his last nine games and moved into second on the team in scoring Thursday with 40 points. Mikael Backlund has notched three goals and an assist in his last two contests and leads the team with 43 points, while Sean Monahan netted his team-best 20th tally on Thursday. Defensemen Mark Giordano (five points, plus-7 rating in last four games) and Dougie Hamilton (six points, plus-6 in last four) also have been major contributors during the team’s latest streak.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (28-21-10): Aleksander Barkov scored his sixth goal in eight games this month on Wednesday while Jonathan Marchessault tallied for the second straight game as both players pushed their totals to 36 points – second on the team. Vincent Trocheck, who reportedly is fine after suffering a shoulder injury on Wednesday, has notched eight points in his last seven games and tops the team with 42. James Reimer made his second straight start against Edmonton, opening the door for veteran Roberto Luongo to play for the first time since Saturday at Los Angeles.
1. Backlund and Giordano each recorded three points in Calgary’s 5-2 win over Florida on Jan. 17.
2. Florida LW Jonathan Huberdeau has been kept off the scoresheet in back-to-back contests after posting eight points in the first six games following an Achilles injury.
3. Elliott has earned points in seven of his last eight starts (6-1-1) and allowed two goals or fewer in five of them – including a 23-save performance in Thursday’s victory.
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