While the Calgary Flames continue to heat up, the Montreal Canadiens look to build on their much-needed first victory of 2020.
The visiting Flames try to remain undefeated in the new year while aiming for a sixth consecutive victory Monday night against the Canadiens.
Calgary ended 2019 mired in a 2-5-1 rut but have certainly welcomed 2020 in style while going 5-0-0. Elias Lindholm had two goals and Johnny Gaudreau recorded one with an assist as the Flames rallied from a goal down to beat rival Edmonton 4-3 on Saturday night.
“That was a huge win for us and now we have to keep building here,” said Lindholm, who has recorded four of his team-leading 20 goals over his last three games.
“If you can help the team win, scoring goals, or any way else, it’s always fun to be part of. As long as we’re winning.”
Calgary, which has gone from outside of playoff position in the Western Conference to in the mix for the Pacific Division lead, has won each of its 2020 games by one goal. Gaudreau has three goals and five assists over the last six games.
Netminder Cam Talbot, meanwhile, has a 2.01 goals-against average and .940 save percentage while going 4-0-0 in 2020. He also seems to be the preferred choice in the Flames’ net over David Rittich, who has a 4.96 goals-against average while losing two of his last three starts.
Calgary, which won seven in a row from Nov. 27-Dec. 12, will now try to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat to Montreal. Lindholm had a goal with an assist and Gaudreau added a pair of assists while Rittich made 39 saves, but the Flames blew a 2-0 first-period lead and a late one-goal advantage during a 4-3 overtime home loss to the Canadiens on Dec. 19.
Montreal had one win since that contest before snapping an 0-7-1 slide with Saturday’s 2-1 overtime victory at Ottawa. Carey Price made 41 saves and Ilya Kovalchuk scored his first goal in four games since signing with the Canadiens.
“Finally, we got a win, so it’s good,” said the 36-year-old Kovalchuk, who has four points with the Canadiens. “It’s going to build some momentum and some confidence for sure.”
That remains to be seen for Montreal, which last won consecutive games on Dec. 17 and 19. The Canadiens also need to end an 0-4-1 skid at home, where they are 0-for-12 on the power play during that stretch. They have won just twice over their last 14 home contests (2-8-4).
Calgary, meanwhile, has won three straight away from home amid an 8-1-1 road stretch.
Price, who ended his own 0-5-1 slide on Saturday, is mired in an 0-4-1 skid at home and allowed three goals in each of his last three starts there. However, he’s posted a 2.14 goals-against average during a 5-0-1 stretch versus Calgary.
Teammate Max Domi (12 goals, 21 assists) scored the overtime winner against the Flames last month to kick off a six-game goal streak. However, he’s failed to score in six games since that run.
Calgary star Sean Monahan is one point from 400 for his career. He’s failed to record any in his last three games against Montreal.
–Field Level Media