The way the Flames are playing, Calgary probably isn’t the most attractive destination for a team that has lost 13 straight road games.
Still, the woeful New York Islanders will try to salvage the finale of their four-game road trip on Thursday against the Flames, who have won their last five games at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Calgary’s 5-2 home win over NHL-leading San Jose on Tuesday ranks among the club’s most impressive victories of the season, but the Flames (24-12-4) have been clicking for a while, going 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and averaging nearly four goals over that span.
Coming off their first regulation loss since Dec. 9, Calgary outshot the Sharks 16-4 in the first period while taking a 3-0 lead. Daymond Langkow’s second goal made it 4-0 early in the second, as the Flames’ offense ignited even though leading scorer Jarome Iginla was held without a point.
“We came out with a lot of energy,” said Langkow, who has five goals and four assists in his last six games. “We were skating well, making smart plays, taking the puck to the net, and getting bodies in front of (Sharks goalie Evgeni) Nabokov and it paid off for us.”
The Flames have been especially dominant at home this season, going 14-4-3 at the Saddledome and outscoring opponents 23-13 during their current five-game winning streak there. They’re 95-31-18 at home since the NHL lockout, compared with a 60-65-17 record on the road.
That’s not good news for the NHL-worst Islanders, who haven’t won in an opponent’s rink since a 4-3 shootout victory at Montreal on Nov. 24. Since then, New York (12-25-4) is 0-12-1 away from Long Island, and is now two losses away from matching the longest road losing streak in franchise history.
The Islanders, who play five straight at home after Thursday’s game, dropped 15 in a row on the road during their expansion season in 1972-73, when they finished 12-60-6 overall.
New York has been getting close lately, losing five of its last six road games by one-goal margins. In a 3-2 loss Monday at Edmonton, the Isles blew a two-goal lead and allowed the game-winner with 10 minutes to play.
“That was a winnable game and it slipped away from us,” captain Bill Guerin said. “Give them credit - they hung in there, too. It was one of those games where whoever’s going to stick around longest and not break and catch a break is going to win, and that’s what happened.”
New York played the game without Doug Weight, who is tied for the team lead with 32 points but was injured during the Monday morning skate. His status for this game is uncertain.
While Miikka Kiprusoff figures to be in net for Calgary, having played 91.6 percent of the team’s minutes this season, it’s unclear who will be in the crease for the Islanders.
This is the only meeting of the season between these clubs. The Islanders have visited Calgary just once since 2002, winning 5-4 in a shootout last Jan. 11.