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Flames ride six-game streak into Carolina
Sunday, January 14, 2018
Latest Line: Calgary +115 O/U: 5.5
 
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RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes can't feel sorry for themselves going into Sunday afternoon's game against the Calgary Flames at PNC Arena.

While the Hurricanes took a gut punch with the conclusion of Friday night's game, the Flames are riding a six-game winning streak.

So the moods could be different as the teams approach their second meeting of the season.

"You just have to stay steady (during good times)," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "You can't get wound up and think about them. We're going to push this group."

Calgary's win streak is the NHL's longest active streak of success.

On the flip side, the Hurricanes gave up two goals in the final 3:08 of Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals.

"A couple of frustrating things out there, but that happens sometimes," Carolina captain Jordan Staal said. "It's a hard one to swallow so we have to get that one (out of the system) and come out with a big effort against Calgary."

That loss came in the team's first home game since Dallas billionaire Tom Dundon took majority of ownership of the team. So while that ruined some of the buzz surrounding the team, it's time to bounce back.

"There's no choice, really," Hurricanes center Jeff Skinner said. "It's one game we have to move on. Next game we've got another opportunity to get two points."

Calgary will be going for a sweep of a four-game road trip after winning Thursday night at Tampa Bay and Friday night at Florida. The Flames won those games by a combined 9-3 score.

There's a growing bond with the Flames.

"How much talking was on our bench and from different guys," Gulutzan said. "The amount of reinforcement that is coming in. You're really going to get something if your guys are driving the bus. ... The biggest thing for me is how they're taking ownership and they're playing for each other. All those little things are coming into this group and that's positive."

Yet the Flames are still trying to smooth out rough edges.

"I think maybe at the beginning of the year, we were finding ways to lose," Calgary left winger Matthew Tkachuk said. "Now we're grinding out wins."

The health of the Hurricanes is a concern considering the lineup shuffle from Friday night, leaving the team without key penalty killers.

Defenseman Brett Pesce went on injured reserve after suffering an upper-body injury in Thursday's morning skate and center Derek Ryan was out of the lineup after suffering an injury in that night's game. Carolina was without forwards Joakim Nordstrom and Elias Lindholm because of illness.

"It shows the value of those guys," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said.

Forward Lucas Wallmark filled in, with the possibility of more help coming from the American Hockey League affiliate depending on the statuses of the ailing players.

The Hurricanes have upgraded their power-play production, going 6-for-17 across their last six games. They have two power-play goals in two of their last three games.

The Hurricanes have been going primarily with Cam Ward, who has been the clutch goaltender for the past month. But Ward was Friday night's loser while Scott Darling was the 3-1 winner one night earlier at Washington.

Calgary has options in net after backup David Rittich's 41-save outing Friday night in Florida. Mike Smith won a night earlier at Tampa Bay.

Carolina won 2-1 at Calgary on Oct. 19.

After Sunday, the Flames have five days off prior to beginning a three-game homestand.

"We're not overthinking this game," Tkachuk said of the finale of the road trip.

 


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