The Calgary Flames are looking forward to their season-high seven-game trek through Eastern Canada and the United States, and for good reason.
Calgary recorded a perfect 5-0-0 road trip from Oct. 21-28 before enduring three losses in its next four home games (1-1-2). The Flames hope to get back on track Thursday when they visit the Montreal Canadiens.
“Because the last one was fun, especially the on-ice — the most important part — you look forward to going back out there,” Milan Lucic told the Calgary Sun of the upcoming stops on the road trip. “You’re not switching time zones, the flights are an hour and all that type of stuff. It’s nice being out there when you get opportunities to be out there.
“You look forward to it, just because of the success we had on the last one.”
Lucic notched an assist on Andrew Mangiapane’s team-leading eighth goal of the season in the Flames’ 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. The setback snapped Calgary’s 10-game point streak (7-0-3).
“Just start a new one,” Lucic said. “We have to do what we did in the first game on the last road trip. You can’t look at the road trip as a whole; you want to start the road trip off on the right note. The most important thing right now is to regroup, reset … get ready to have a good first period in Montreal and get rolling from there.”
The Eastern Conference-worst Canadiens are rolling downhill with losses in three straight and five of their last six games, including a 3-2 overtime setback to the surging Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Montreal also has a lopsided minus-20 goal differential.
“We work so hard in practice, we work so hard in games,” said Jake Evans, who scored a nifty highlight-reel goal on Tuesday. “We’re a tight team and everyone would take a bullet for each other, so we’ve just got to get back to it. And I do really think we’re growing and we’re getting better as a team and we’re fixing our problems, and I think it’s only going to go up from here.”
Tyler Toffoli didn’t have to look far for motivation for his current club. He was facing a team in Los Angeles with which he spent parts of eight seasons.
“They have young guys that work, and they have older guys that are pulling and leading the way,” Toffoli said. “So, I think that we can definitely take note of that and just keeping working ourselves, just keep pushing and keep grinding.
“It’s frustrating not being able to pull out these wins, but we’re doing a lot of good things and eventually they’re going to start turning in our direction.”
Jonathan Drouin participated in an optional pre-game skate on Tuesday before missing his third consecutive contest after being hit in the head by a shot from teammate Brett Kulak. Doctors have ruled out a concussion for Drouin, whose availability to return is unknown.
Calgary won six of the nine meetings against Montreal last season, although the Canadiens won two of the four contests at Bell Centre.
Montreal concludes a five-game homestand on Thursday before opening a three-game road trip in Detroit on Saturday.
–Field Level Media
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