The flu hasn't completely slowed down the Calgary Flames, thanks in part to Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
The Flames' young stars try to lead them to a perfect homestand and a ninth straight home win Saturday night against the New York Rangers.
Calgary (12-14-2) was hit hard Thursday when right wing Jiri Hudler and goaltender Karri Ramo were sidelined by flu symptoms. Jonas Hiller was also affected but got the start in place of Ramo and made 27 saves, while Gaudreau and Monahan combined for five points in a 4-3 win over Buffalo.
"You should've been in the locker room... the medical staff runs in the coach's office saying 'Guys are puking everywhere,'" coach Bob Hartley said.
"You have Karri Ramo in the laundry room and you have Jiri Hudler in the doctor's room and they're throwing up and they're white like ghosts and suddenly you look at Jonas Hiller and he's coming in, and he's whiter than a snowman."
With the illness possibly still an issue, the Flames are aiming to end a five-game homestand on a high note. Their single-season record for consecutive home wins is 10 from Nov. 7-Dec. 12, 2006, while their overall best was 11 spanning two seasons in 1990.
Gaudreau and Monahan have been terrific at home. Gaudreau has collected 21 of his team-high 28 points in Calgary, including eight goals and six assists over the last eight.
Of Monahan's 22 points, 15 have come at Scotiabank Saddledome, where he has 11 during a seven-game streak. The center has three goals and one assist in the last two games.
"Mony's a great student. He pays attention, he works at his game in practice and obviously he is showing progress and he deserves it," Hartley said.
However, in the three games Monahan and Gaudreau have played together against the Rangers (18-9-3) - all losses - they've combined for three assists and a minus-7 rating.
New York is stumbling through a 2-6-1 stretch after going 13-1-1 and trying to salvage a win on a three-game swing through Western Canada. The Rangers lost 7-5 at Edmonton on Friday, giving up the deciding goal 12 seconds after Rick Nash tied it with 1:46 left.
"It was one of the more disappointing games I've been a part of," captain Ryan McDonagh told the team's official website. "To come back twice, and then just give them Grade-A looks. Certainly we have to play a ton better if this team wants to be where we want to.
"We have 24 hours to think this through and find a way to compete harder and battle harder and find a way to win a hockey game."
Nash ended a six-game goal drought while adding two assists for his third three-point game of the season. The left wing may be looking forward to visiting Calgary after scoring twice in a 5-2 win there Dec. 16, helping the Rangers sweep a three-game trip against Vancouver, Edmonton and the Flames.
It's uncertain if Henrik Lundqvist or Antti Raanta will be in net. Lundqvist was pulled early in the third period Friday after giving up five goals on 33 shots, while Raanta allowed another tally and made two saves.
Lundqvist has a 2.97 goals-against average while splitting four career visits to Calgary, while Raanta is 3-0-0 with a 2.28 GAA in four career starts against the Flames.