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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 9, 2018
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York  Attendance: 18,006

Hot Flames look to keep Rangers cold

Calgary Flames at New York Rangers

  1. The Flames beat the Devils, 3-2, in New Jersey on Thursday. They now have three consecutive wins following a six-game losing streak, which came on the heels of a seven-game winning streak. Calgary has a point in seven straight road games, the second-longest active streak.
  2. The Rangers lost to the Bruins, 6-1, at home on Wednesday. It was the second time this season they've lost a home game by at least five goals (1/13 vs. Islanders, lost 7-2). Between the 2010-11 and 2016-17 seasons, they had just one such game.
  3. New York is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games against the Flames, including a 5-0-0 mark at home. Calgary's last win at Madison Square Garden came on December 7, 2008. Mark Giordano is the only player from that team who is still on the Flames.
  4. Sean Monahan scored a pair of goals in the win over New Jersey, including the eventual game-winner. He has scored the game-winning goal in three straight games, the most by a Flame since Al MacInnis had three in a row in the 1993-94 season.
  5. Rick Nash scored the Rangers' lone goal in the loss to Boston, giving him seven goals in his last 10 games. Nash has averaged 0.48 points per game this season, which would be a career low. His current low is 0.53 in his rookie year.
  6. Johnny Gaudreau has 46 assists to lead the Flames, 22 more than Mikael Backlund's 24 assists, which are the second most on the team. That gap is the largest in the NHL.

NEW YORK -- A pivotal set of games could not have started any better for the Calgary Flames -- or any worse for the New York Rangers.

The Flames will look to continue their roll and the Rangers will hope to snap their slump Friday night, when New York hosts Calgary at Madison Square Garden in their first meeting of the season.

The Flames earned their third straight win Thursday night, when they continued a six-game road trip with a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. The Rangers suffered their fourth consecutive loss Wednesday night -- and their seventh defeat in the last eight games -- when they were routed by the visiting Boston Bruins 6-1.

The Flames (28-18-8), who immediately preceded their winning streak with a six-game slide (0-2-4), have moved into a tie for second with the San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings and two points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks. Almost as importantly, Calgary will enter Friday with as many points as the Minnesota Wild, who currently occupy the second wild card in the Western Conference.

Each of the Flames' last three wins have been by one goal.

"You can have good numbers and you can lose 1-0," said Flames backup goalie David Rittich, who earned the win Thursday by recording 30 saves. "If you get two points, numbers (don't) matter. Two points is most important for me."

The numbers have not been good lately for the Rangers (25-24-5), who enter Friday in sole possession of last place in the Metropolitan Division, New York has been outscored 17-4 during its losing streak and 35-16 over the last eight games.

While the Rangers are just three points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, most projection models give them no better than a 20 percent chance of reaching the postseason.

New York has made the playoffs the last seven seasons and in 11 of the last 12 campaigns, but upper management seemed ready to wave the white flag Thursday, when general manager Jeff Gorton and president Glen Sather said they were focusing on rebuilding the Rangers at the trade deadline before issuing a similarly worded letter to fans.

"The decisions we make going forward will be based on long-term and not trying to save the season," Gorton told reporters at a press conference. "Let's face it, we've had a pretty good run for a while. Many years, we've had a team where we're looking to add at this time of year. Right now, as we sit last in our division, it's become increasingly clear that's not our team right now."

Flames No. 1 goalie Mike Smith is expected to return to net Friday against the Rangers' top netminder, Henrik Lundqvist. Smith last played Tuesday, when he earned the win after making 34 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Lundqvist was yanked in the second period Wednesday after allowing four goals on 16 shots against the Bruins.

Smith is 5-11-2 in 19 career appearances against the Rangers while Lundqvist is 6-3-0 in nine games against the Flames.

The Rangers and Flames are scheduled to complete the season series March 2, when New York visits Calgary.

Updated February 9, 2018

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