Flames visit Preds in battle between low-scoring teams
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames were again involved in a game in which a team was held scoreless, only this time they came out on the winning side.
For one night, continued scoring issues didn't cost the Flames and they'll aim to make it back-to-back wins on Tuesday night when they visit the Nashville Predators.
Calgary went into Monday's encounter with the Carolina Hurricanes having been outscored 13-1 over a three-game slide and 26-6 over their previous eight games, a span in which it had been shut out five times while going 1-7-0.
The Flames finally found a way to get around those scoring woes by keeping the Hurricanes off the board in a 2-0 win. Karri Ramo stopped all 23 shots he faced for his first NHL shutout.
Ramo played 48 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2006-09 and then spent the next four seasons in Russia before the Flames took a chance on the 27- year-old Finn in the offseason. He posted 18 whitewashes for Avangard Omsk in the Kontinental Hockey League.
Mikael Backlund and Sean Monahan scored the goals as the Flames won despite Mike Cammalleri sitting out with a concussion suffered in Saturday's loss to Pittsburgh.
"It was probably our best team effort of the season," Calgary head coach Bob Hartley said.
"It's a feel-good story, that's for sure. We had an answer for their pressure. We were on our toes, had great support. Guys were going short (shifts), so we had plenty of energy. We were on a mission."
Monahan tied Cammalleri for the team lead in goals with 13 as he has three tallies in his past seven games for the struggling offense.
The Predators themselves failed to find any offense on Sunday night versus the Minnesota Wild, falling in defeat 4-0. They were shut out for an NHL-leading seventh time this season, but for the first time since Nov. 28.
Marek Mazanec made 19 saves, yielding two goals in the first period and another two in the third as the Preds fell to 1-2-1 on a five-game homestand and 3-7-4 in their past 14.
"They came out with a lot of juice and got us on our heels in the first," said Nashville coach Barry Trotz.
The Predators and Flames are meeting for the first time this season and Nashville has claimed five of the past seven encounters overall.
Calgary has lost four straight in Nashville.
Sens, Wild collide in Minnesota
(SportsNetwork.com) - There is still plenty of hockey left to be played, but that doesn't mean the Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild aren't keep an eye on the standings.
The two clubs look to extend recent surges on Tuesday night with a meeting in Minnesota.
The Senators are 5-0-1 in their last six games, climbing to within two points of the final two postseason spots in the Eastern Conference, while the Wild own a four-point lead for eighth place in the Western Conference thanks to a victory in five of their last six.
Ottawa wraps a four-game road trip tonight and rebounded from an overtime loss in Colorado to beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday. Both Mika Zibanejad and Jason Spezza scored for the Sens in the tiebreaker, while Craig Anderson stopped both skaters he faced.
Kyle Turris scored in regulation while Anderson stopped 32 shots through overtime.
"You don't want to fall behind. We know we're in a lump of a group of teams, but with the games-in-hand and the not-games-in-hand I think it's too early to be looking at where you sit," said Spezza.
Anderson has not lost in regulation since Dec. 19, going 6-0-2 since. However, he has allowed three goals or more in five of those eight games.
Minnesota, meanwhile, has found success despite not having forwards Zach Parise (lower body) and Mikko Koivu (ankle surgery) as well as goaltender Josh Harding (illness) out of the lineup.
The Wild also rebounded from a loss to Colorado, besting the hosting Nashville Predators 4-0 on Sunday.
Darcy Kuemper made 23 saves for his first career NHL shutout, while Dany Heatley, Jason Zucker, Matt Cooke and Marco Scandella all had goals.
Charlie Coyle, skating on a line with Heatley and Zucker, notched a pair of assists.
"I think it's also the first time we've had a couple of guys we've played steady together for more than a game or two," Heatley said. "Like I said, that chemistry's a big deal and it's going good right now."
Kuemper only had to make five saves in the opening period, but turned aside nine in each of the final two frames to finish off the shutout. He will get the call in net again tonight as he faces the Senators for the first time.
Ottawa is 8-3-0 with a tie all-time versus Minnesota and had won six straight in the series before a 4-3 home loss on Nov. 20. Koivu had the winner, Heatley finished with a goal and an assist and Harding made 34 saves.
Turris, Zibanejad and Milan Michalek scored for the Senators, while Anderson made 21 saves.
Sens backup Robin Lehner is slated to get the start tonight and has never faced the Wild. He has given up five goals in each of his last two starts overall, the most recent on Dec. 27.
Ottawa has won three straight on the road in this series and is 4-1-0 with a tie all-time in Minnesota.
The Senators announced on Monday that general manager Bryan Murray signed a two-year contract extension and was also named the president of hockey operations. Upon the conclusion of the extension in 2016, Murray will stay on with the team in an advisory role.
The 71-year-old Murray has been with the franchise since June 2004 when he was named the team's head coach, then took over the general manager's duties on June 18, 2007.
Oilers look to halt struggles against Stars
(SportsNetwork.com) - A stunning collapse cost the Dallas Stars a chance at snapping their five-game losing streak last time out.
The Edmonton Oilers couldn't capitalize on a shocking goal to beat one of the NHL's top teams.
The Stars and Oilers both aim to halt their recent struggles on Tuesday night with a meeting in Dallas.
The Oilers visited the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday and lost a 5-3 decision despite a gift goal in the second period.
During a delayed penalty call, Blackhawks' goaltender Antti Raanta skated off for an extra attacker as Patrick Kane passed the puck to the point in the Oilers zone. However, there was not Blackhawk there and the puck traveled all the way into the Chicago net, with Boyd Gordon getting credited with a goal despite not even being on the ice.
That strange tally tied the game at 2-2 with 8:31 left in the second period, but Chicago's Marian Hossa scored during the 5-on-3 power play just 29 seconds later and Jonathan Toews added another Blackhawks goal before the end of the period.
Ales Hemsky had one goal and an assist for the Oilers, while Devan Dubnyk was beaten five times on 41 shots.
"We made it pretty easy on them. Against a team like that, they're going to make you pay," said Edmonton forward Taylor Hall, who scored his 18th goal of the season to make it 4-3 in the third period before Chicago again answered.
The Stars and Oilers have split two meetings this season, with each club winning on the road. Dallas has won seven of nine and 12 of the last 15 meetings overall.
Edmonton has won back-to-back road games in this series, but has still lost 10 of its last 13 in Dallas.
Just minutes away from a victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday, the Stars instead watched as the Isles scored three times over the game's final 4:16 to hand Dallas a 4-2 setback. It was the Stars' sixth defeat in a row, all in regulation.
Ray Whitney and Sergei Gonchar scored in the first period to stake Dallas to a 2-0 lead and Dan Ellis made 27 saves.
"When you're struggling as a group, instead of finding ways to win you find ways to lose, and that's kind of where we're at right now," said Whitney.
The Stars have lost six in a row in regulation for the first time since Dec. 5-15, 1995 and have fallen eight points back of the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
Dallas will now try to avoid losing seven straight for the first time since an 0-5-2 rut from March 17-30, 2009 and will do so against an Edmonton club that is 2-4-2 in its last eight games.
Ilya Bryzgalov will start tonight for the Oilers and is 13-8-2 with a 2.26 goals against average in 29 games (26 starts) versus the Stars. He made 28 saves in a 3-2 shootout win in Dallas on Dec. 1.
Kari Lehtonen is likely to start for the Stars and owns a 10-3-1 lifetime mark versus the Oilers with a 2.06 GAA. He shut the club out for the first time in his career with a 3-0 road decision on Nov. 13, then stopped 30 saves in the loss to Bryzgalov.
Former Oilers captain and current Stars forward Shawn Horcoff faces his old club for the third time. He totaled 162 goals, 285 assists and 447 points in 796 games with Edmonton to begin his career and has no points in the two meetings this season.