April 04, 2014

Consecutive wins for the first time this season is restoring confidence in the Calgary Flames. It may only grow further against the struggling Florida Panthers.

The Flames' trio of young stars looks to continue the club's revival in the opener of a four-game road trip Tuesday night.

Calgary (5-9-1) was one of the league's biggest surprises last season, reaching the playoffs for the first time in six years and advancing to the second round.

That run looked like a fluke as the Flames opened 2015-16 by losing nine of their first 11. However, they've started to turn things around by winning three of four, including two straight after beating Pittsburgh 5-2 on Saturday. Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and rookie Sam Bennett combined for four goals and three assists.

"It's not only the wins. It's the way we played. The confidence is coming back," coach Bob Hartley told the team's official website. "The swagger is coming back. As long as we keep top teams like this to 10, 12 chances a game, I like our chances."

Hartley should also like the production he's getting out of Gaudreau, Monahan and Bennett.

Gaudreau is among the league leaders with 17 points in his second full season.

The 21-year-old Monahan has eight points in 10 games after getting two in the first five, while Bennett, 19, has collected eight of his nine points in the last six.

"My job with the Gaudreaus, the Monahans, the Bennetts, all our young players is to play them," Hartley said. "Put them in all kinds of situations. It's an investment and it's a great investment. Those guys have so much to offer."

That was evident at Florida on Nov. 8, 2014, when Gaudreau had one goal and two assists and Monahan added two points in a 6-4 victory.

Calgary is 4-0-1 in its last five road meetings with the Panthers (5-6-3), who enter this matchup on an 0-3-2 stretch. They haven't endured a longer slide since dropping nine straight from Oct. 22-Nov. 10, 2013.

Florida has mustered just seven goals during its current skid and hasn't scored in the third period in any of those games. The Panthers showed few signs of pulling out of the spiral Saturday at Los Angeles, getting outshot 35-19 and giving up three goals in a 4:38 span of the second period to fall 4-1.

"We're a better team than what our record shows, and I think that's what's more shocking than anything," defenseman Erik Gudbranson told the team's official website. "Unfortunately we get into these little five-minute spurts during games where the wheels fall off, and we've really got to clean that up. There's no excuse for it."

Jaromir Jagr leads the Panthers with six goals and 10 points, but he has none in four games - three since returning from a lower-body injury that sidelined him two contests.

The 43-year-old right wing has just one point in his last six meetings with the Flames.

Florida's Roberto Luongo is 12-3-3 with a 1.85 goals-against average in his last 18 starts against Calgary. He's allowed two goals or fewer in 14 of those games.

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