After briefly stuttering, are the Flames officially back?
Two wins in a row now, and points in three straight. Could be a sign that Calgary has properly straightened itself out after finally dropping one in regulation to Boston eight days ago.
"But Ryan," you may be saying right now, "St. Louis is eye-bleedingly terrible and that shootout loss to the Sharks was as white-knuckle a loser point as you’ll see in this league."
Fair points both.
But I would submit that holding a previously molten Sharks team to just three goals in 65 minutes isn’t SO bad, and scoring as many is about all you can ask from this Flames offense. Further, yeah, the Blues are awful. No question. But scoring seven goals in two games and allowing none is admirable and downright impressive, respectively, regardless of what team you’re playing.
But this game? Against the Blackhawks? In Chicago? That’s a whole different can of worms, isn’t it?
Chicago has been Calgary-a-month-ago hot lately. Points in nine of their last 10, winners of five straight against mostly solid or even very good opponents. And they’re led by a resurgent Jonathan Toews who has something like 23 points in his last 14 games, and 11 in his last six. This is not a team that messes around lately, and they’re in a dogfight with Calgary and about 100 other Western Conference teams for one of those playoff spots of which there are far too few.
A win tonight would validate certain fans’ beliefs that the Boston loss served not as a blueprint for how to bully the Flames, but was simply an aberration. It might also be proof that Calgary can skate with anyone these days, no matter how hot. It would also be Calgary’s first win at United Center since March 2008.
That might also be nice going forward.