After rallying to beat one of the league’s best teams, the Calgary Flames have a chance to end their season-high road trip successfully against one of the NHL’s worst.
However, winning in Toronto hasn’t proved an easy task for the Flames.
Calgary concludes its seven-game trek Saturday night searching for its first road win over the Maple Leafs in eight seasons.
The Flames (40-22-6) erased a two-goal deficit late in the third period Thursday night at Detroit and prevailed in a 6-5 shootout win over the Western Conference-leading Red Wings. Calgary tallied three goals in a 2:02 span and after allowing a tying score with 42 seconds left, the Flames earned a needed win as Olli Jokinen and Michael Cammalleri scored in the shootout.
“Nobody panicked. We just went out there the last 15 minutes and rolled (the lines) quick and kept pushing hard,” said Lundmark, who scored his goals in the third period. “We finally got a couple of goals, and things turned around for us. It was a big win … a big two points.”
A victory Saturday would give the Flames a 4-3-0 mark on its trip and move them closer to their first Northwest Division title since 2005-06, but they rarely win in Toronto.
While Calgary is 4-1-1 in the last six overall meetings, it has one win in its last 14 road games against the Maple Leafs. The Flames have not appeared at Air Canada Centre since a 5-4 overtime loss on Oct. 14, 2006, and have lost three straight there following a 6-5 victory on Dec. 16, 2000.
To break that trend, Calgary may need to end its recent defensive struggles, especially when short-handed. Over their last four games, the Flames have given up 19 goals while allowing opponents to go 8-for-27 on the power play.
Kiprusoff will try for his 200th career victory Saturday, hoping to improve upon his 4.05 goals-against average in six March starts. Kiprusoff, who has started all but six of Calgary’s games this season, should top his career-best 42 victories set in 2005-06 and could challenge Martin Brodeur’s single-season league record of 48.
Kiprusoff stopped 29 shots in a 4-3 home win over Toronto on Nov. 11 as Dustin Boyd scored twice.
The Maple Leafs are laboring down the stretch and will likely miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Toronto (27-29-13) has been outscored 12-6 during a 1-3-0 stretch and has missed on all eight of its power-play opportunities in the last three games.
The Leafs’ performance Thursday night in a 4-1 loss to visiting Tampa Bay seemed to really get to coach Ron Wilson, who was ejected in the final minute for arguing with the referees.
Wilson’s team was shut out over the final 56:39 after Lee Stempniak’s goal against Tampa Bay, one of only six teams in the league with a worse record than Toronto.
“They took it to us in the second period and part of that was our fault,” Stempniak said. “We didn’t take the extra stride to get pucks in or really pay the price to win the game.”