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Flames seek spark on road trip, starting at Islanders

Nov 5, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (28) and New Jersey Devils right wing Nathan Bastian (14) battle for the puck during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

There was no shortage of energy at UBS Arena on Nov. 20, 2021, when the New York Islanders finally opened their long-awaited new home arena by hosting the Calgary Flames.

There won’t be the buzz of a building opening Monday night, but both the Islanders and Flames will be looking to generate a spark when the two teams are slated to meet again in Elmont, N.Y.

Both clubs were off Sunday after losing Saturday. The Islanders had their five-game winning streak snapped as they were blanked by the host Detroit Red Wings, 3-0. The Flames concluded a season-long eight-game homestand by suffering their fourth straight defeat by falling to the New Jersey Devils in overtime, 4-3.

It was the first shutout loss of the season for the Islanders and provided a sour punctuation to a winning streak in which they outscored the opposition 22-9.

The Islanders were outshot 13-7 in the first period before getting just five shots in the second period, when the Red Wings scored twice on special teams — a goal by Lucas Raymond during a 5-on-3 power play and a short-handed goal by Pius Suter.

New York outshot Detroit 12-4 in the third, but it wasn’t nearly enough to continue its longest winning streak since a nine-game run from Feb. 28 through March 14, 2021.

“They were taking away time and space, but I didn’t think that we played fast enough,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “There’s no excuse for it. To have 30 shot attempts in the first two periods and then end the game with 63, clearly, we didn’t get to our game and move the puck quick enough through the first 40 minutes.”

The Flames were expected to contend for the Stanley Cup following an active offseason, in which they acquired Jonathan Huberdeau from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Matthew Tkachuk before signing center Nazem Kadri to a seven-year contract.

They are hoping their first lengthy road trip of the season will provide a jolt after the disappointing homestand. Games against the Islanders, Devils and Boston Bruins will mark the first time this season that Calgary has played consecutive games away from home.

The Flames, who squandered leads in losses to the Edmonton Oilers and Seattle Kraken before trailing wire-to-wire in a 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators last Thursday, scored just 89 seconds after the opening faceoff Saturday before giving up three unanswered goals in a span of a little more than 12 minutes.

Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zadorov scored in the second and third periods, respectively, for Calgary, which didn’t record a shot in overtime before the Devils’ Fabian Zetterlund scored at the 2:38 mark.

“Definitely losing four in a row is unacceptable for our group,” Zadorov said. “We’re going on the road. We haven’t done it in a while — been home for a while — so it’s going to be something new for us. Definitely a new energy, new excitement.”

–Field Level Media