PREVIEW: Calgary Flames aim to capitalize on momentum vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

By Field Level Media
Feb 15, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk (19) skates against the Vancouver Canucks in the third period period at Rogers Arena. Flames won 4-3 in Overtime. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames put an end to three streaks on Monday and will be out to get one started Wednesday night when they try to sweep a two-game set from the host Toronto Maple Leafs.

In defeating the Maple Leafs 3-0 in the first game on Monday, the Flames snapped their string of losses at three games, stopped Toronto’s three-game winning streak and ended a run of 16 straight games with at least one point by Leafs center Auston Matthews.

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It was an impressive comeback for the Flames after a 7-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, their fourth loss in five games following a three-game winning streak.

“Probably for tonight there’d be a little relief,” Flames coach Geoff Ward said. “It’s always good when you get rewarded for your effort and certainly the guys were rewarded for that tonight. Now, it’s about the response and how we deal with it and move on from it, but lots of good things.”

David Rittich made 34 saves — 17 in the second period — to earn his fourth career shutout after No. 1 goaltender Jacob Markstrom was a late scratch because of an upper-body injury. Markstrom is listed as day- to-day.

Toronto also was without regular starting goaltender Frederik Andersen because of a lower-body injury.

“He’s day-to-day,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said regarding Andersen. “That’s all I’ve got for you. I don’t know what’s going to happen from here.”

Michael Hutchinson started for the second time in three games and made 30 saves. Regular backup Jack Campbell is out with a leg injury, and Keefe said that he is expected back “within the next week.”

The Flames killed off seven penalties, while scoring twice on five power plays. The key to the game came when the Flames withstood a five-on-three Maple Leafs power play for one minute, 36 seconds in the second period.

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“At the end of the day, what won us that game was that five-on-three kill,” said Matthew Tkachuk, who scored his 100th career goal on a power play on Monday. “Unbelievable job by our PKers out there. Just such a huge momentum change for us. Again, getting in shot lanes, getting great sticks, Rittich being solid back there. … In my opinion, that’s kind of what won us the game.”

“Special teams were the difference, just because there were so many power plays both ways, there was no real flow to the game at five-on-five,” Keefe said. “The other team had a little more urgency. Our team played like one that was expecting things to go bad and to not go our way, rather than making it go away. I didn’t like our mindset.”

Jake Muzzin (fractured facial bone), Zach Hyman (foot) and Joe Thornton (lower body) were scratched from Toronto lineup for the game Monday.

Muzzin and Hyman were injured Saturday in the victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Hyman and Thornton are listed as day-to-day. It is not certain how long Muzzin could be out.

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“It’s going to require (Muzzin) to miss some time,” Keefe said. “We’re uncertain how much time, it could be a day-to-day situation. We have to give it some time to settle, but when he comes back, it’ll have to be with a full shield.”

Wayne Simmonds (wrist) remains out for Toronto.

–Field Level Media