Flames-Maple Leafs Preview
It's likely too little and too late, but the Calgary Flames have proved effective in recent attempts to bolster their faint playoff hopes.
The eliminated Toronto Maple Leafs are also showing they're not content to just play out their remaining games.
Calgary will seek a sixth win in nine tries while Toronto will try to earn its fifth in seven games Monday night.
The Flames have earned at least one point in seven of their last eight, going 5-1-2, and they improved to 3-0-1 in their past four with a 4-1 victory in Montreal on Sunday.
Sean Monahan had two goals and an assist as Calgary (31-35-6) secured just its third set of back-to-back road victories this season, following a 4-2 win against Pittsburgh on March 5.
"Obviously, we're confident right now," said Monahan, who has five of his 26 goals and two assists in his last four games. "We know we're not in the spot where we want to be, but we want to show pride and character and dig deep here to end the season."
Even with their recent play, the Flames are 12 points behind Colorado in the Western Conference with 10 games remaining and two teams between them and the Avalanche.
Toronto (25-35-11) was officially eliminated from contention in the East on Saturday but topped visiting Buffalo 4-1.
The Maple Leafs pulled away with a trio of third-period goals, including Connor Carrick's second in three games. Toronto has won three of four at home, matching its win total from its previous 15 contests at Air Canada Centre.
"You want guys playing with energy. You want guys playing with confidence and making plays and trying to do things," Carrick said. "It's fun to be a part of when other guys are doing that."
Calgary edged Toronto 4-3 in the only other meeting this season Feb. 9. Dougie Hamilton tallied the Flames' final goal with 5:52 remaining in the second period and assisted on another.
Calgary has dropped its last three games in Toronto but is visiting for the first time since Dec. 9, 2014. The Flames are also 3-16-1 in their last 20 there, a stretch that began at the old Maple Leaf Gardens.
After giving Niklas Backstrom his first NHL start in 14 months, Calgary is expected to send out Jonas Hiller in net for this game. Hiller is 2-5-0 with a 3.91 goals-against average in seven lifetime starts against Toronto.
Only his 4.32 GAA in six appearances versus Anaheim, his former team, is worse.
The Leafs are expected to start Jonathan Bernier, who is 4-1-0 with a 1.60 GAA in five matchups with Calgary. Only his 1.42 GAA in nine games versus Minnesota is better.
Hamilton has two goals and four assists over his last four matchups with the Leafs. He tallied three assists for the second time in four contests Sunday.