After Gulutzan’s Berating, Flames Have Been On Fire

The big turnaround for the Calgary Flames seems to have started after a postgame interview with Glen Gulutzan. The Flames had just been beaten by the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 when Gulutzan called the teams performance pathetic.

After this interview the team turned it around. Since the Montreal beatdown, the Flames have gone 17-4-1. They were on the outside looking in after that game, fighting for the last wildcard spot. Now they have their eyes on home ice advantage in the first round, juggling in and out of 2nd and 3rd place in the Pacific Division and the first Wild Card spot in a heated race between the Flames, Ducks and Oilers.

One of the main reasons this team has been so successful since that game has been their ability to fight back after getting down by a goal. While the Flames were on that 4 game losing streak they allowed the first goal each game. They would play well, the opponent would score, and they would crumble. But that changed very quickly, they now have a record of 6-2-1 when the opponent has scored the first goal since the Montreal game.

The Flames have the ability to completely shut the game down when they lead after 2 periods. They have a record of 30-0-1 on the entire season when leading after 2. The one OT loss came in a shootout in their 3rd game of the season (the game Louis Eriksson scored an own-goal). Since then the Flames have gone 30-0-0, one of  the main reasons they went on that 10 game win streak.

The Flames solidified the defense, which has clearly helped because they have gone 10-1-0 with Michael Stone in the lineup and 12-2-1 with Matt Bartkowski in the lineup.

The goal in the video is Michael Stone’s second since coming to Calgary in a trade about a week before the deadline.

In 11 games with the Flames he has 2 goals and 3 assists, which is far better than what he had with the Arizona Coyotes. In 45 games with the Coyotes he had 1 goal and 8 assists. It has been a very good fit for the Flames and Stone. Matt Bartkowski has not been scoring but has been playing very good defensively with veteran defenseman Deryk Engelland. This pairing is mainly used as a shutdown unit, which has clearly worked given that the Flames don’t lose when leading after 40 minutes.

The chatter among Flames fans and media about Gaudreau and Monahan struggling has been put to rest now.

Gaudreau scored this spectacular goal against the Penguins to give them the lead in the 3rd. The Flames won this game in the shootout to win their 10th straight. Number 13 is the team’s leading scorer with 53 points after missing 10 games with a broken finger. During the 10 game win streak Johnny Gaudreau had two 4-point nights. The game that started the win streak (against the Predators in a 6-5 win) he had 4 assists including an assist on the game winner scored by Mark Giordano. His next 4-point night was against the Montreal Canadiens in a 5-0 shutout win. He had 1 goal and 3 assists. He also had the game winning goal in the game that started this success – against the Ottawa Senators. In a recent game against the Kings, both Gaudreau and Monahan had 1 goal and 2 assists. In their 4-2 loss against the Capitals, Gaudreau assisted Monahan. Both Gaudreau and Monahan have been a big part of the Flames success and have come up big at the best time.
And of course, the goaltending. All of those Brian Elliott doubters at the beginning of the year were proven very wrong.

And the 3M line..

They have been unbelievable all year, the most consistent line offensively and defensively. They have carried this team almost all season long. Enough said.
The Flames have been outstanding recently, but a few times this season and last season they have been really hot and sometimes been really cold. They have done enough to get a cushion in the Playoff race, but will they be able to keep up the good work in the Playoffs? We shall soon see.