When you're hot, you're hot. The last two games, the Calgary Flames have been ... well, red hot.
A week ago, the Flames were struggling to score goals and, subsequently, win games. They've rebounded from a four-game losing skid by racking up 15 goals in the last two clashes, both lopsided wins -- more than they collected in their eight previous outings -- with the latest being a 9-4 drubbing of the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.
As they head into Friday's home game against the struggling New York Rangers, the Flames are third in the league in offense and have a pair of lines racking up the points.
The top trio of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm combined for 14 points last game, six for Gaudreau alone. The second line of Mikael Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Frolik have collected 13 points in the last two games.
As the Flames fight for top spot in the Pacific Division and head into the playoffs, knowing they have two forward lines that can light the lamp is a big plus.
"It's going to help, for sure," head coach Bill Peters said after the win over the Devils. "Your best players have to be your best players. They're primarily guys that we count on each and every night to generate offense and they've got to end up on the scoresheet, they have to. They were pushing and pressing a little bit, and now to have a night like (Tuesday), I think, is going to go a long way, but it was good for our group to see the puck going in."
The Rangers arrive in the Stampede City having lost eight times in nine games, although they've collected five charity points (1-3-5). New York is coming off a 4-1 defeat to the Vancouver Canucks, a loss essentially decided during a five-plus-minute stretch in the second period.
After Chris Kreider was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for elbowing, Brendan Lemieux was given a major penalty, too, for a hit to the head. The Canucks tallied three times in just over three minutes. Two goals came 11 seconds apart.
"You lose two forwards and you're completely out of sync," coach David Quinn said. "You kill (10) minutes of penalties in that period, I mean really, you're really at an incredible disadvantage. I thought we got off to a good start. I liked our pace in the first period, I really liked our energy. I thought we had a real good first period. Then it just completely unraveled in the second period."
"It's too bad. I thought we had a really good game going, first period was really strong," said goalie Henrik Lundqvist, whose next victory will be the 450th of his career. "But then we had obviously a stretch in the second period that just changed the whole game."
Regardless of the fallout from the infractions -- Kreider was fined $5,000 -- the Rangers must regroup against a Calgary team that's looking to have regained its groove.
"I think obviously when you have a night like that, guys get confidence and usually you start to roll with it," Monahan said. "But I think our team game is still coming and I still think this team has another gear."
--Field Level Media