Flames look to build momentum in road game vs. Devils
Posted on: 08 Feb, 2024 at 09:31 PM
Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
The Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils will look to follow up an impressive win over tough competition when they face off on Thursday in Newark, N.J.
Looking to get back into the playoff picture down the stretch, Calgary and New Jersey each took a step forward on Tuesday in their first games after the All-Star break. The Flames notched a 4-1 win over the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins, while the Devils also topped a Stanley Cup contender with a dramatic 5-3 home win over the Colorado Avalanche.
The Devils held a 3-1 lead in the third period before the Avalanche scored twice in 29 seconds. John Marino, however, capped a nice passing sequence to score the go-ahead goal with 2:17 remaining in regulation.
Tuesday's game marked the 17th time that New Jersey had rallied to victory this season.
"We've been resilient the whole year. ... Give up the lead and (to) be able to come back and win that game against a great team too, so hopefully it goes a long way for us," Marino said.
No such comeback was required for the Flames, who never trailed Tuesday and held the Bruins to only 22 shots. Defenseman Noah Hanifin described the victory as "a great effort," particularly given the nine-day gap between games.
"Sometimes coming out of breaks like that you can be a little rusty in certain areas, but I thought we played a really complete game at both ends of the ice," Hanifin said.
The Flames have won their last two games and enter the regular season's final two months with something of a reloaded roster.
Jakob Pelletier, Kevin Rooney, and Martin Pospisil all returned from the injured reserve to play Tuesday. Waiver claim Brayden Pachal also made his Flames debut, and Andrei Kuzmenko scored a power-play goal in his first game since being acquired in last week's blockbuster trade with the Vancouver Canucks.
New Jersey's lineup receives a major boost with the return of All-Star center Jack Hughes, activated from injured reserve Thursday. Hughes has missed the Devils' past 11 games due to an upper-body injury on Jan. 5 but still ranks second on the team with 45 points (10 goals, 35 assists).
Tyler Toffoli is questionable to face Calgary after missing Tuesday's game with an illness.
Nico Daws and Vitek Vanecek largely have been alternating starts for the last month, so the former might be in net Thursday since Vanecek faced the Avalanche. Vanecek looked sharp in stopping 35 of 38 shots, however, while Daws has struggled over his last three games.
Jacob Markstrom has a 7-3-0 record, a 2.22 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage over his last 10 games. Backup goaltender Dan Vladar hasn't played since Jan. 20 and could get some action, or the Flames may just stick with the hot hand in Markstrom.
Nazem Kadri leads the Flames in assists (26) and points (42). Kadri has rebounded after collecting just one point over Calgary's first eight games.
Jesper Bratt leads New Jersey in assists (32) and points (52). Bratt has scored a goal in three straight games and is riding a five-game point streak (four goals, two assists).
In the two teams' first meeting of the season, the Devils recorded a 4-2 win in Calgary on Dec. 9.
--Field Level Media