November 09, 2014

As Sam Bennett continues to produce during easily the best stretch of his brief NHL career, his next opponent has seen its offense dry up following a brief breakout.

Bennett looks to continue his recent scoring binge when the Flames resume their road trip Sunday night against the scuffling Carolina Hurricanes.

After recording five goals during the first 39 games of his rookie season, Bennett has eight in his last five as the 19-year-old begins to fulfill his considerable promise. The 2014 No. 4 overall pick scored four times in a 6-0 rout of Florida on Jan. 13 and collected two more in Thursday's 4-2 win at Columbus.

''Maybe my confidence might be a little bit higher now,'' he said. ''Still playing the exact same way. Thinking about playing the right way and not cheating."

There were other positives as well as Calgary (21-21-3) halted a two-game skid to open its season-high five-game trip. Johnny Gaudreau ended a 14-game goal drought on the road by breaking a 2-all tie early in the second period, while Karri Ramo made 27 saves in his return from a 10-day layoff.

''The guys in the locker room knew it was a really important game for us,'' said Gaudreau, who's scored just three of his team-leading 20 goals on the road. ''It showed in the third period with the (way) guys worked and played."

Ramo, who had missed three straight with an illness, improved to 3-2-0 with a 2.03 goals-against average in five January starts. He could be in line for another sharp effort with Carolina (21-20-8) having managed only three goals in its last three.

Among the league's lowest scoring teams all season, the Hurricanes generated 15 goals in winning a season-high four straight from Jan. 8-14. They've dropped three of four since and were dominated by the Rangers through the first two periods of Friday's 4-1 home loss, with New York building a three-goal lead by owning a 31-19 shot advantage.

"I thought we were ready to go. I thought we were competitive off the bat," captain Eric Staal said. "I thought we shot ourselves in the foot every time on their goals. We turned it over, they countered and scored. You can't do that. We paid for it."

Carolina was considerably sharper defensively in Thursday's 1-0 win at Toronto, in which Eddie Lack stopped 32 shots to notch his first shutout as a Hurricane.

Lack had 28 saves Friday in a third straight start in place of Cam Ward, out indefinitely with a concussion sustained last week. He fell to 1-5-1 with a 3.15 GAA in seven home starts, though the ex-Canuck has good career numbers against Calgary during his time with Vancouver.

Lack has won three of four meetings with the Flames and allowed just two goals over his past three, the most recent a 1-0 loss on Jan. 10, 2015.

Ramo is 3-1-0 with a 0.99 GAA in four starts against Carolina, including a 23-save shutout at PNC Arena on Jan. 13, 2014.

The Flames are 8-2-1 in their last 11 matchups with the Hurricanes and won four straight in the series prior to a 4-1 loss in Raleigh on Nov. 10, 2014.

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