Flames Clinch Playoff Spot

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36 saves on the night for Brian Elliott, who stole two tonight. When you enter into the playoffs, or any game for that matter, the goalie is the one player who can steal wins. Elliott did that tonight vs SJ, one of the final 5 games the Flames have all against Pacific Division rivals.

Playing against divisional rivals also means every game is a potential four-point night.

Calgary came out slow, coughing the puck up nine times in the first period alone. If it wasn’t for Elliott the game would’ve been 3-0 after the first period. But the way things go, if you do’nt take your chances, you’re going to pay the price, and fortunately that was SJ paying the price.

Gaudreau can break open the game at any time, and after a first period penalty kill, did just that on a rush with 20-year old 18-yearold Sam Bennett. Bennett had perhaps his best game of the season, looked revitalized, and benefited from a change in linemates, becoming the de-facto third line pair with Kris Versteeg and Chiasson on his wings. The line combined for 3 goals.

But this game belonged to Elliott, who shut the door in the first and third period. Every time the Flames gave up a chance, he was there to cover up the mistakes.

The win also had implications for the Flames’ post-season. They have now clinched (sorry LA, and sorry Iginla, you chose wrong again), which means they now play for position, which could range from a Wild Card spot, all the way to 1st (and likely somewhere in between).

The exciting part will be how the Flames respond in the final 4 games. Will they start to shore up their game in preparation for the playoffs? Or will they continue to have troubles playing a consistent 60 minute game?

One thing’s for sure, the netminder is dialed in, and that’s all you need heading into the post-season.