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Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Flames creep into first place with wild win over Edmonton

The 2019-20 Calgary Flames are a streaky team. This season has seen them lose six, switch coaches, and then rattle off seven wins in a row. They extended their current win streak to five with a playoff-like 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.

It was an eventful game. The Flames scored first and blew a 1-0 lead. Then they trailed 2-1 and 3-2, but kept battling back. It was, in short, a bit of a back and forth slugfest.

“Obviously the implications of the game were big for this period of time right now, the two teams being as even as they are.” said Flames interim head coach Geoff Ward.  I thought it was good example of two teams playing hard. It was a good hockey game. A lot of good things probably on both sides of the table, but we’re happy with how we played tonight.”

With the victory, the Flames moved into first place in the Pacific Division. There are still 35 games left to play, but it’s a big step for a team that hasn’t consistently played their best hockey this season.

Tkachuk has a big game

It’s been well-documented that Matthew Tkachuk has a way of getting under the opposition’s skin. He boasts an impressive penalty differential. He scores key goals. He makes big plays. He’s at present the Flames’ leading point-getter. He had an assist on Saturday and drew the penalty that led to the game-winning goal.

He was good tonight, really good. He was involved, he was physical. I mean, it was a great screen on the power play goal. He did an awful lot of good things tonight. You see what kind of an impact he can have on a game. Not much you can say, he was a beast out there for us tonight. I thought he was really good and involved. I thought he was an influential player on the game for us.

The top line bottles up McDavid

Tkachuk was one third of a line with Elias Lindholm and Andrew Mangiapane that were given a tough assignment by their coach: out-duel Connor McDavid. Aside from a goal McDavid scored on the rush – with a different Flames line on the ice – hockey’s top player didn’t hit the scoresheet.

Ward credited his top trio for their play against McDavid.

I thought the guys did a good job making sure he was going to have to come through more than one player to make something happen on the inside of the ice. I thought that line did a real good job of being aware of where he was on the ice, and making sure that we tracked back through the middle.