The craziest thing about the Calgary Flames’ undefeated-in-regulation start is that they could easily be undefeated, period.
Consider the two games they didn’t win. In the season-opener, they blew a 3-0 lead to Washington and lost, 5-4, in a shootout. Against Vancouver, they blew a 3-1 lead and lost 5-4 in overtime.
Remember, the rebuilding Flames were picked by many to finish dead last in the NHL. But with six out of a possible eight points to start the season, their fans are cautiously wondering if things might not be so bad after all.
Tonight, the winless New Jersey Devils are in town to play the Flames and their 18-year-old rookie, Sean Monahan, scorer of three goals and two assists in his first four games in the NHL.
“I sometimes pinch myself and wonder if I need to check his birth certificate, the poise he is showing for an 18-year-old kid,” coach Bob Hartley said after Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Montreal. “He is having fun, he is bringing passion, he is bringing excitement and he’s learning. He is a pretty special kid.”
The Flames are also getting strong performances from veterans Jiri Hudler (2G, 3A), Mark Giordano (1G, 3A) and Lee Stempniak (1G, 3A).
They’ll need to keep those strong performances coming, because after they’re finished with the Devils they head out on a tough five-game road trip to Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas.