Coming off one of their best games of the season, the Calgary Flames will look to continue the momentum on Tuesday when they visit the North Division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Flames ended a four-game losing streak in emphatic fashion with a 5-0 shutout of the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Calgary scored four times in the second period en route to outshooting Edmonton by a 32-17 margin in the game.
“It was a 60-minute effort,” said Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom, who earned his third shutout of the season.
“I thought we did a great job with everything from power play (to the) penalty kill. … It was great to get a win, get back in the win column here.”
Calgary is still just 2-8-0 over its past 10 games, which includes an 0-4-0 mark on the road. The Flames’ last road victory came in Toronto, a 4-3 win over the Maple Leafs on March 19.
Every point is crucial as the Flames continue to chase the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth and final North Division playoff berth. Calgary sits eight points behind the Canadiens, who have two games in hand on the Flames.
The Flames didn’t get any help from the Leafs on the playoff front on Monday, as Toronto dropped a 4-2 result in Montreal. The loss ended the Maple Leafs’ six-game winning streak, and Toronto suffered its first regulation defeat since that March 19 date with Calgary.
The Maple Leafs and Flames will go from trade partners to adversaries, as the two clubs lined up on a deal on Sunday. Calgary sent goaltender David Rittich to the Leafs in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
As a result, Rittich may now make his Maple Leafs’ debut in a start against his former team. Since Jack Campbell started on Monday and isn’t likely to play on consecutive nights, Toronto could turn to Rittich or possibly incumbent backup Michael Hutchinson on Tuesday.
Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said he believed Rittich “will be available” on Tuesday.
“(Rittich) has obviously got experience in the league. … His addition definitely adds to our depth in goal, and that’s a very good thing,” Keefe said.
Rittich was 4-7-1 with a .904 save percentage and 2.90 goals-against average in 15 games (12 starts) for Calgary this season.
Markstrom is expected to start for the Flames on Tuesday. He was Calgary’s top goaltending choice over Rittich all season, and although Markstrom played more games, the two share similar numbers — Markstrom has a .901 save percentage and a 2.91 GAA in 29 games.
NHL goals leader Auston Matthews has eight tallies during his five-game goal streak. He has 17 points (11 goals, six assists) over his past 10 games for Toronto.
Calgary’s Mikael Backlund has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past six games.
Milan Lucic is scheduled to play in his 1,000th career NHL game.
Tuesday’s game is the ninth and final time the Flames and Maple Leafs will meet in the regular season. Toronto leads the season series 6-2-0.
–Field Level Media