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Calgary Flames vs New York Islanders game preview

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With a four-game winning streak, the Flames are one of the hottest teams in the NHL, but the Islanders aren't too far behind.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames have left 2014 on a very positive note. After suffering eight straight losses, their fortunes finally turned, and they welcome the new year on the back of a four-game winning streak. The streak comes on the back of two Pacific Division teams: the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers. While strong, the four-game streak isn't as strong as it appears, as three of the four games have been close calls, including two overtime games. Tonight's challengers, the New York Islanders, are the first Eastern team the Flames are facing since playing the New York Rangers back on Dec. 16, 2014.

The Flames' most recent win saw a return to form: down in the third period, they clawed their way back against the Edmonton Oilers. Joe Colborne, who scored his first goal of the season against the Oilers in an earlier matchup, scored twice. Lance Bouma scored as well, and after missing the last three games due to injury, Josh Jooris stepped out of the penalty box in overtime to score the final goal of 2014, leading his team to a 4-3 victory. | RecapStatsBoxscore | It was a real thriller:

The last time Joe Colborne had a multi-goal game? It was against the Islanders, in a 4-3 win way back on March 7, 2014. He had the game winner.

Those very same Islanders are currently in the midst of a western Canadian road swing. They relinquished a three-goal lead to the Buffalo Sabres, losing to them in a shootout, but since then, it's been nothing but wins. Johnny Boychuk scored the overtime winner against the Washington Capitals, and in their most recent game, the Isles exploded for a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Ryan Strome had a four point night, while Frans Nielsen had two goals and an assist in the win. Jaroslav Halak has been huge for the Islanders, earning 20 of their 25 wins.

For more on the Islanders, be sure to check out Lighthouse Hockey.

Game time: 7:00 p.m. MT

Channel: SN1; the Oilers have commandeered the main Sportsnet West channel.

All-time record: The Flames and Isles have had a close historical battle, with the Flames coming out just on top with a 44-43-20-1 record. Despite that, the Isles actually win in the goal differential, having scored 362 times against the Flames to the Flames' 339 for a difference of +22.

Common threads: Well, way back whenever, the Islanders waived Blake Comeau, and the Flames picked him up. That isn't in the here or now, though, as Comeau is now enjoying his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. There is a chance the Flames end up with Dylan Strome, Ryan Strome's brother, as he's eligible for the upcoming 2015 NHL Draft.

Approaching milestones: Jonas Hiller is just under two full games away from playing 20,000 career minutes. He's expected to start the game, as he starts every game, now, apparently - and he has won the last four.

Current records and leaders

Calgary Flames New York Islanders
21-15-3: 45 points 25-11-1: 51 points
Pacific Division: 5th Metropolitan Division: 2nd
Western Conference: 9th Eastern Conference: 3rd
Time on ice
Defence: TJ Brodie (24:58 per game)
Forward: Sean Monahan (19:31 per game)
Defence: Johnny Boychuk (22:04 per game)
Forward: John Tavares (20:32 per game)
Points
Goals: Jiri Hudler (13)
Assists: Mark Giordano (25)
Points: Jiri Hudler (37)
Goals: John Tavares (15)
Assists: Kyle Okposo (24)
Points: John Tavares
Kyle Okposo (32)
Shots
Shots on goal: Sean Monahan (99)
Shooting percentage: Josh Jooris (21.4%)
Shots on goal: Kyle Okposo (124)
Shooting percentage: Michael Grabner (28.6%)
Faceoff Leaders
Sean Monahan (50.0%, 844 taken) John Tavares (50.7%, 604 taken)
Grit
Penalty minutes: Brandon Bollig (40)
Hits: Lance Bouma (113)
Blocked shots: Kris Russell (120)
Penalty minutes: Travis Hamonic (52)
Hits: Matt Martin (168)
Blocked shots: Calvin de Haan (71)
Corsi/Fenwick (minimum 1/2 team's games played)
Corsi for%: Jiri Hudler (48.0%, 38 GP)
Mark Giordano (47.6%, 39 GP)
Fenwick for%: Josh Jooris (50.1%, 29 GP)
Johnny Gaudreau (49.0%, 38 GP)
Corsi for%: Nick Leddy (57.8%, 37 GP)
Johnny Boychuk (57.7%, 27 GP)
Fenwick for%: Nick Leddy (60.7%, 37 GP)
Johnny Boychuk (60.1%, 27 GP)


Possible starting lineups

Calgary Flames
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Curtis Glencross Sean Monahan Joe Colborne
Johnny Gaudreau Josh Jooris Jiri Hudler
Paul Byron Markus Granlund Lance Bouma
Brandon Bollig Matt Stajan David Jones
Left Defense Right Defense
Mark Giordano TJ Brodie
Kris Russell Dennis Wideman
Rafa Diaz Deryk Engelland
Goalies
Jonas Hiller
Karri Ramo

New York Islanders
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Josh Bailey John Tavares Kyle Okposo
Mikhail Grabovski Brock Nelson Nikolay Kulemin
Anders Lee Frans Nielsen Ryan Strome
Matt Martin Casey Cizikas Cal Clutterbuck
Left Defense Right Defense
Calvin de Haan Travis Hamonic
Nick Leddy Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey Lubomir Visnovsky
Goalies
Jaroslav Halak
Chad Johnson


While the lines are shuffled a touch, looks like Mason Raymond remains in the doghouse. Hartley has praised the fourth line's work as of late, but has promoted Lance Bouma, pumped down David Jones, and is now showing Joe Colborne some love after his huge game against the Oilers. We'll see how long all of these combinations last - not surprising to see Josh Jooris officially back with Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler, though. Also, I'm gonna put out "missing" flyers for Karri Ramo.