SPORTS

NHL: 4 things to know for Friday night

03/13/2015 11:40 EDT | Updated 05/13/2015 05:59 EDT
The Flames hope their hot streak continues against the Leafs, while the Senators hunt for a playoff spot against the Islanders and the Oilers try to avoid a seventh straight loss.

Here's what you need to know for Friday night's NHL action.

Flames on fire

The Calgary Flames may be the most appropriately named team in the NHL right now. They've been on fire since losing their captain, Mark Giordano, to a season-ending bicep tear, going 4-0-1 and scoring 21 goals. 

Demonstrating their heat on Wednesday, the Flames beat the Ducks, one of the top teams in the league, by a commanding 6-3 margin. That game featured 11 different Flames contribute points and a stretch where they scored three goals on four shots.

The Flames have four players on point streaks. Jiri Hudler has nine points over the last five games, Johnny Gaudreau has six points over the same stretch, Kris Russell has eight points over the last four games and Dennis Wideman has five points in the last three.

Calgary is sitting third in the Pacific Division with 79 points, only one behind the second-place Canucks. If they earn at least a point Friday, it will be the first time the Flames have done so in six straight games since March 2012.

Toronto will have some help from T.J. Brennan, who was recalled from the Marlies, but the team will still be down Nazem Kadri, who's sitting out the game for disciplinary reasons.

Senators cling to slim playoff hopes

Coming off a tremendous 5-2 comeback victory where they scored five unanswered goals against the Canadiens on Thursday, the Ottawa Senators continue their hunt for a playoff spot with a visit to the New York Islanders. Ottawa is seven points behind the Bruins, who have the second wild card spot in the East.

The fate of the Senators seems to revolve around the incredible, and historic, play of rookie netminder Andrew Hammond. With the win against Montreal, Hammond, or the "Hamburglar" as he has come to be known, became the first NHL goalie since 1938 to allow two or fewer goals in each of his first nine games. He has gone 8-0-1 since his NHL debut.

If Hammond gets the start over Craig Anderson, the Senators may have some extra confidence to help get past the Islanders, who are one of the best teams in the league. New York is looking for a win to get back atop the Metropolitan Division.

Oilers try to avoid 7th straight defeat

The Edmonton Oilers have had a terrible season, and at this late stage nothing can change that. But even the worst teams can still have pride, and when Edmonton takes on the Blue Jackets they will be playing for that. 

The Oilers have lost six straight and are coming off a heart-breaker Thursday against the Penguins, where they came back from a four-goal deficit but still managed to lose 6-4. Like Edmonton, Columbus is well out of the playoff race but will still be a challenge as they have played well recently, winning two in a row. 

The Oilers will look to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who has nine points over his last seven games, and Jordan Eberle who has six points over his last three.

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