69Zac Rinaldo
Photo Credit: Stan Szeto/USA Today Sports

Flames keep rolling with group effort against Sharks

Once upon a time, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving lamented that his team was relying on too few players to do too much. On Monday night against the San Jose Sharks, the Flames had almost all of their lineup contributing.

17 of the team’s 18 skaters registered a shot – only Oliver Kylington failed to. 12 of the team’s 18 skaters were credited with a point – Kylington, Brandon Davidson, TJ Brodie, Michael Stone, Dillon Dube and Derek Ryan didn’t hit the scoresheet. The Flames drew six penalties to San Jose’s two and scored on three of their power plays.

Johnny Gaudreau, hardly a Selke Trophy threat, raced back to break up a Melker Karlsson shorthanded breakaway. Players were blocking shots. Zac Rinaldo had multiple points and was named first star after being pressed into service due to an illness to Sam Bennett.

It was a weird game in many ways. But it was very similar to the Vancouver game in the sense that the Flames played a strong team game and never trailed. For a team that’s chased a ton this season – only three teams have trailed more – spending two games on the road against divisional opponents not chasing is a big step.

Should it have taken 55 games to get to this point? Ideally, no, but they have to play the hand they’ve been dealt.

Matthew Tkachuk put up a variant of the Matthew Tkachuk Hat Trick, with two penalties drawn and a goal. The goal was the cheeky between-the-legs number he pulled off against Nashville at the end of October.

Because nobody got injured or played awful, Geoff Ward was able to roll his lines and keep things consistent. It was a template of a good road effort. Let’s see if they can keep things rolling in Los Angeles and Anaheim.