Dan Vladar seems like the nicest guy.
Speaking to the media following his fourth win in as many starts – a 25-save triumph over the Minnesota Wild – the young Calgary Flames’ netminder was quick to commend the players in front of him for the bounce-back effort following two early goals that dug them a hole.
“Great bounce-back by our group,” said Vladar. “So we’ve just got to be proud and celebrate ’til midnight.”
The 5-3 victory over the Wild allowed the Flames to finish their five-game homestand with a 4-1-0 record, and has pushed them to a 13-10-3 record – three games above the .500 mark – and back into the thick of the playoff hunt.
Vladar acknowledged the team’s turnaround, but cautioned about getting to carried away.
“Obviously, but at the same time, we just can’t be flying in the skies right now, we’ve got to stay humble,” said Vladar. “I don’t think in two days that Columbus really cares what’s our record or whatever, they just want to beat us. We’ve just got to keep the same mindset that we had this homestand and just keep this going.”
The appearance against the Wild was Vladar’s sixth start in the past 10 games. In that span, he’s posted a 4-1-1 record with a 2.15 goals against average, .929 save percentage and .933 save percentage. It’s a small sample size, but those are strong numbers, and he’s given his team a chance to win each game.
The win over Minnesota was the 20th of his NHL career, and came in his 38th NHL appearance in net. For context, his netminding tandem-mate Jacob Markstrom played 63 games and had 37 wins last season. But Markstrom’s recent challenges have given Vladar an opportunity for a bigger role, for now, and Vladar raved about his teammate’s positivity and support – noting he gives him advice and counsel during breaks in games.
“He’s just been awesome,” said Vladar. “I can’t ask for a better guy. So I know he’s ready and once he gets the shot he’s going to perform real well, like he did this past year and a half that I was here.”
Last season, Vladar made 18 of his 23 appearances on the road. He was only in net for three home wins. So far this season, he’s gotten more chances to play in the Saddledome and he’s earned four victories in six home outings. He’s relishing the opportunity to win on home ice.
“It’s awesome,” said Vladar. “After win, [I] go home and celebrate with my girl. I didn’t have that last year. It’s pretty new for me.”
The Flames are back in action on Friday night when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening game of a three game road trip.