National Hockey League
Preview
Calgary at Carolina
When: 3:00 PM ET, Sunday, February 26, 2017
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

When the Calgary Flames embarked on a five-game road trip that took them from British Columbia to balmy Florida, they were one point clear of Los Angeles for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference and could only hope to come home still in playoff position. Calgary exceeded expectations and is 3-0-1 on the excursion, which concludes Sunday afternoon against the Carolina Hurricanes, to increase its lead to four points on the Kings.

“It’s tough to do in this league - to believe - because you have to get the results to believe,” Flames captain Mark Giordano told reporters after Friday's 4-2 victory over Florida. “I think now we’re getting rewarded, and it’s going a long way for our young guys.” Calgary plays 12 of its final 19 games at home and three against Los Angeles, so it controls its own destiny more than other teams. Carolina, which shut out Ottawa 3-0 on Friday to snap a five-game losing streak (0-4-1), is tied for last in the Eastern Conference with Detroit and will likely miss the playoffs for the eighth straight season. The Hurricanes won the first of two meetings this season 4-2 on Oct. 20 behind a goal and assist from Jeff Skinner for their third victory over the Flames in the last four encounters.

TV: 3 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Calgary), FSN Southeast (Carolina)

ABOUT THE FLAMES (32-26-4): Mikael Backlund scored in the last three games (four total) and leads Calgary with 44 points while standing second in goals (19). Sean Monahan (team-leading 20 goals), who became the youngest player in club history to reach 100 career goals in Thursday's 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay, plays his 300th contest Sunday and is two points shy of 200. Matthew Tkachuk continues his strong rookie season with two goals and eight assists in his last eight games as he enters the conversation to be a Calder Trophy finalist along with standouts Auston Matthews of Toronto and Winnipeg's Patrik Laine.

ABOUT THE HURRICANES (25-24-8): Carolina already traded defenseman Ron Hainsey to Pittsburgh on Thursday and it is likely just the start of what could be a parade of veteran players heading out of town for draft picks and/or prospects. One player who isn't going anywhere is Skinner, who leads the team with 20 goals and 39 points after scoring twice in his last four games. Viktor Stalberg (nine goals) snapped a 11-game goal drought Friday while Jordan Staal (12 goals, 32 points) scored for the second time in eight February games to go along with five assists.

OVERTIME

1. Flames F Johnny Gaudreau (11 goals, 40 points) hasn't scored in 10 February games, but boasts nine assists during that span.

2. The Hurricanes lead the NHL in penalty-killing at 86.5 percent despite allowing five power-play goals in 22 chances over the last seven games.

3. Calgary is 1-for-23 on the power play in its last seven contests.

PREDICTION: Flames 3, Hurricanes 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Calgary 32-26-2-2 W3 15-14-0-0 17-12-2-2 0-1-0-0 32-25-2-2 9-9-1-2
Carolina 25-24-4-4 W1 18-8-1-1 7-16-3-3 3-4-0-0 22-20-4-4 6-13-0-2
Last Meeting
Calgary Carolina
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
10/20/16 CAR 4 CAL 2 26 28 0-6 32 24 2-8
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Calgary T. Brouwer 1
Carolina N. Hanifin 3
Goals Player  
Calgary T. Brouwer 1
Carolina V. Rask 1
Assists Player  
Calgary D. Hamilton 1
Carolina N. Hanifin 3
Saves Player  
Calgary B. Elliott 28
Carolina E. Lack 24
Season
Total Points Player  
Calgary M. Backlund 44
Carolina J. Skinner 41
Goals Player  
Calgary S. Monahan 20
Carolina J. Skinner 22
Assists Player  
Calgary D. Hamilton 30
Carolina E. Lindholm 22
Saves Player  
Calgary C. Johnson 886
Carolina C. Ward 1243
Quickchart Matchup
Calgary Off vs  Carolina Def
2.63 GF
2.82 GA
29.5 Shots
27.9 Shots
40 PP
20 PK
Carolina Off vs  Calgary Def
2.51 GF
2.81 GA
30.1 Shots
28.3 Shots
28 PP
43 PK