The Calgary Flames, with their fifth straight win, took a big step last night on their way to clinching a playoff spot.
A 2-1 OT victory over the Kings at Scotiabank Saddledome put the Flames five points clear of the Blues, holders of the second wild-card spot in the West, and six points clear of L.A, just on the outside looking in.
In other words, it’s looking a lot like the Blues and Kings will battle down the stretch for the final playoff spot.
The Flames, as long as they don’t collapse, should be able to outlast at least one of St. Louis or L.A.
“We are confident, and we should be,” head coach Glen Gulutzan said, per the Calgary Herald. “We’ve been trying to build that up all season.”
The season, of course, did not start out well for the Flames. They were 5-10-1 after 16 games; they weren’t getting good goaltending from Brian Elliott; and Gulutzan’s new system was taking time to get used to.
Fast forward to the present and Elliott is finally starting to string together some solid performances. He registered a .922 save percentage in February. In four of his starts, he only allowed one goal.
Offensively, the Flames have been led by the resurgence of Johnny Gaudreau. The 23-year-old has eight points during the five-game winning streak, with two goals and six assists. He’s also a plus-7 over the same stretch, taking his season tally down to a somewhat more respectable minus-11.