The Calgary Flames’ two-game trip didn’t end the way they would have liked, but they have to feel good about returning home considering their recent success at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
A visit from the slumping Carolina Hurricanes should also give the Flames a boost of confidence.
Calgary tries to extend its season-best home point streak to four on Tuesday night when the Eastern Conference-worst Hurricanes look to snap a six-game losing streak in their first road contest under new coach Kirk Muller.
After converting two power-play goals in Saturday’s 5-3 victory over Edmonton, the Flames (11-13-2) went 0 for 4 with the man advantage and were outshot 26-9 in the final 40 minutes after Alex Tanguay(notes) gave them a first-period lead in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to Vancouver.
“They got that first goal on us (in the second period) and we stopped moving our feet and stood around and allowed them to take it to us and started making mistakes,” coach Brent Sutter said.
While the Flames’ power play at home remains a major concern - they are converting a league-worst 4.4 percent (2 for 45) in those situations - the club has scored nine goals while earning five of six points in its last three home games.
Calgary was 0 for 19 on the power play and scored two total goals while dropping its previous three at home.
The Hurricanes (8-16-4) will try to avoid a fourth straight loss on the road in this series as they play outside of Raleigh for the first time since Muller replaced the fired Paul Maurice last week.
Carolina is 0-3-0 since the switch and is riding its longest skid since a franchise record-tying 14-game winless streak from Oct. 10-Nov. 13, 2009.
“It’s been really tough, but there’s nothing you can do,” forward Jussi Jokinen(notes) said after Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh. “… Just keep believing and keep your heads up and try to get that first win on Tuesday and try to go from there.”
Although backup Brian Boucher(notes) stopped 37 shots Saturday and Cam Ward(notes) is 0-4-1 with a 3.21 goals-against average in his last five starts, Muller will likely give Ward the start as the club opens its four-game trek through Canada.
Ward, who was raised in Alberta, is 2-2-0 with a 3.20 GAA versus Calgary after struggling through a 6-5 shootout victory Jan. 11.
Flames backup goaltender Henrik Karlsson(notes) made 21 saves in that contest in Raleigh after Miikka Kiprusoff(notes) gave up four goals on eight shots, but it’s unlikely Karlsson will get another shot at Carolina after leaving Sunday’s game with an apparent knee injury.
Kiprusoff, who turned aside all four shots he faced as a third-period replacement, is 4-0-0 with a 1.81 GAA in five starts versus Carolina.
His play has been critical as the Flames have killed 14 of 15 penalties in their last four home games.
That success could continue considering the Hurricanes are 2 for 26 on the power play during their skid. Despite a 6-on-3 advantage for the final 1:30 on Saturday, Carolina failed to score the equalizer.
Still, Muller may have found a spark in third-year defenseman Jamie McBain(notes), who scored twice against Pittsburgh - including once on the power play - after being a healthy scratch in the first two games following the coaching change.
“That’s what we’re looking for from young kids,” Muller said.
Carolina has dropped seven of eight on the road.