Two weeks ago, with the Flames sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference, you had the sense that without an immediate win streak, the season would be lost before January was out.
Well, throw in some good play, a dash of irate coach, and today the Flames site one point back of LA for second in the conference. Everything seems to be working, well nearly everything.
The win streak, including back-to-back wins in Florida, are a result of some solid play throughout the lineup.
- David Rittich hasn’t lost yet in relief. He won tonight.
- The D has been playing well as of late, but not only have they shored things up in the back end, they’re coming up with clutch points. Particularly, Dougie Hamilton with 2 GWG in the past two weeks.
- The top line is back in form after taking December off. Ferland is second on the team in goals. Gaudreau is packing on the points. Monahan has 21 goals, the 5th straight 20+ goal season.
- Secondary scoring has come and gone, but recently it’s contributing. They have more growth yet which is positive.
- The 4th line isn’t a tire fire. They don’t score, but they seem better off with Mangiapane in. Having said that, it would be nice to see both Hrivik in th elineup, and also Jagr. I don’t know what the Jagr situation is, whether he even wants to play on the 4th line, but assuming it’s really only about his injury, he’d be a better bet then what we have going on.
- Special teams is still the concern. The PK is bending but not breaking, but that PP is still searching. Although it did capitalize on an important man advantage tonight for the go-ahead goal, it doesn’t look threatening. The PP needs to find answers fast because come playoff time this is the place where games are won and lost.
Calgary plays Carolina on Sunday and then takes their mandatory 5 day rest, which translates into a near full week of rest. If they can close out with another win, the team will be sitting in a solid position as other teams start to pikc up their games in hand (such as SJ with 4).