Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Once Again, the Calgary Flames are Must-See TV

For those of you who left the Calgary Flames for dead a month ago, look at 'em now!

The Flames are 8-1 in overtime, are riding a six-game winning streak and are tied for a playoff spot in the wide-open Pacific Division after a 2-1 overtime win at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Tuesday.

The Flames have been good at home, winning nine straight games, and they've been AMAZING in overtime, thanks largely to Johnny Gaudreau. The diminutive winger has already tied the NHL record for points in overtime, and we're just 30 games into the NHL season. The new three-on-three overtime format has been a boon for the Flames, and an even bigger boon for Gaudreau, who tied the mark for most OT points in a season set by Markus Naslund in 2003-04 and equalled by Joe Thornton in ’05-06.

Gaudreau has done pretty well in regulation as well--he's tied for 7th in the NHL with 32 points (12g, 20 assists). “Once again, perfect execution from Johnny,” said coach Bob Hartley. “Well, (the win is) huge, because … those points are worth a lot. Plus, I think it’s a good confidence-builder for us. We keep our winning streak alive. This is a huge road trip for us and we wanted to start on a good note.” The Flames have now won six in a row for the first time in four years. And they have managed to climb back into the playoff race despite being woeful on special teams in their last 13 games. They've scored just two powerplay goals on 45 chances and have allowed 10 man-advantage goals to opponents despite only being shorthanded 32 times. Still, they've gone 9-3-1 in that span.

“It’s a start — it’s Step 1,” said Hartley. “Obviously, .500 isn’t good enough to get you into the playoffs. But that’s a huge comeback. Our players deserve lots of credit.”