The Calgary Flames will be going for their third consecutive victory when they visit the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.
The Flames have won two in a row for the first time this season after their comeback 4-2 victory over the visiting Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
The Flames ended a six-game losing streak Saturday in a 6-3 road win over the Seattle Kraken on Saturday.
“You can see the confidence growing in guys and in the group and the way we’re playing,” said Blake Coleman, who scored the go-ahead goal for Calgary in the third period Tuesday. “Confidence is a big thing in this league, and it makes a big difference, and when you start to get that collective confidence, that’s when teams get dangerous.”
Toronto has dropped five of six after losing 6-3 to the visiting Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. The team was booed off the ice after allowing three straight third-period goals.
Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said his level of concern about his team’s defensive play at home is “very high.” The Leafs have allowed four or more goals in the first seven home games of a season for the first time since 1976-77.
“Some of it is individual, some it is collective within the structure, some of it is just being committed,” Keefe said. “We sit here and celebrate guys who score big numbers, we don’t talk enough about what we give up. That’s the reality. We have to prioritize keeping the puck out of our net.”
William Nylander had a goal and an assist for Toronto to extend his point streak to 13 games.
“We’re facing adversity early,” Nylander said. “It’s good for us to grow and build. We’ve got a lot of new guys here.”
“We’ve got a lot of hockey left here,” Keefe said. “It’s early. But it’s time to pull it together here. We have to get our game in order and do all we can to take care of each other, take care of guys who are struggling in whatever position it is.”
In the win over Nashville, Calgary’s Jonathan Huberdeau was benched in the third period and looked on as the Flames scored three goals.
“I thought Huby had an off-night and went into the third period and we wanted to try and get a little more flow and we went with the guys we felt were going and that’s pretty much all it came down to,” Flames coach Ryan Huska said.
“He’s fine. It’s not anything anyone wants to go through, ever, but at times it’s going to happen. You’re not going to have your A-plus game every night and we were trying to find a little bit of rhythm and flow to our game, and at that time we went with the guys we thought were going the best.”
Huska said that Huberdeau will be in the lineup on Friday.
“You want everybody to know that if they’re doing things the right way and they’re having their best game, they’re going to play,” Huska said. “Really, when you get into situations where we’re going back-to-back coming up here, I don’t think you can go to the three lines like we did in the third, it doesn’t work.
“You’re going to spend too much energy on too few guys. It’s not something you can do in situations where the schedule isn’t like what we’ve had.”
–Field Level Media