The Detroit Red Wings will be hoping to halt their first two-game losing streak of the season when they visit the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday night.
Honeymoon overThe Red Wings have seen their fast start to the season slowed considerably after surrendering five goals in each of their last two setbacks. Anthony Mantha, who leads the team with six goals, picked up his team-leading ninth point after assisting on forward Dylan Larkin's goal 30 seconds into Tuesday's game against Vancouver. But it was nowhere near enough, as the Wings eventually succumbed 5-1 to the Canucks.
"It was unacceptable," Larkin admitted. "We're not good enough to come out and just throw our sticks out there and play hockey."
While Thursday's game likely will be old hat for defenseman Mike Green, fellow Calgary native Taro Hirose was understandably nervous when thinking about playing in his hometown.
"It's pretty exciting," the 23-year-old said after practice on Wednesday. "You never really, growing up, know if you're going to be able to play at the NHL level in that rink. I'm sure once we get there it will be a little bit more exciting. Right now. I'm just taking it day by day."
Tough to beat at homeThe Flames enjoyed plenty of good fortune at home in 2018-19, and the early returns this season are projecting for more of the same. They hope to continue their success at the Scotiabank Saddledome when they conclude a brief two-game stretch, this time against Detroit. Elias Lindholm scored for the second time in as many games on Tuesday to boost his team-leading goal total to four as Calgary improved to 2-0-1 at the Saddledome with a 3-1 victory over Philadelphia. The 24-year-old Swede collected four points (one goal, three assists) against Detroit last season as the Flames won both encounters and seven of the last nine overall. Head coach Bill Peters was optimistic that second-line center Mikael Backlund will play against Detroit despite injuring his left foot while blocking a shot in the third period against the Flyers.
"Negative," Peters of the X-rays taken on the foot of the 30-year-old Swede. "Maintenance day today, but I think he'll play (Thursday). We'll give it time. I know he's going to work on getting treatment the rest of the day, get treatment in the morning, probably try it in the pre-game skate and if he's good to go, he'll be in."
Johnny Gaudreau, who leads the team with seven points, recorded four points (one goal, three assists) in Calgary's 5-3 win over Detroit on Jan. 2 of last season.
The Detroit Red Wings are:
- 18-39 in their last 57 road games
- 0-4 in their last four games against the Pacific Division
- 2-8 in their last 10 games playing on one day of rest
The Calgary Flames are:
- 35-17 in their last 52 games playing on one day of rest
- 24-11 in their last 35 games that are the fourth of a four days in six days situation
- 20-8 in their last 28 games against the Eastern Conference