The Calgary Flames snapped a frustrating six game winless streak with a 5-4 shootout road victory against the Winnipeg Jets. Rookie Sean Monahan continued to show poise beyond his 19 years as he had the game winning marker in the eighth round of the shootout, while goalie Reto Berra emerged victorious in his first NHL shootout. The Flames improved to 7-11-3 on the season, and it was a solid bounce-back from seemingly hitting rock bottom during a home ice loss to the badly struggling Edmonton Oilers. The Flames surrendered a 2-0 lead in the final period against their arch rivals by allowing four consecutive goals.
One of the strong performers for the Flames during the course of a rough 2013-14 NHL season has been Mike Cammalleri. He netted a goal and an assist in the victory over the Jets and now has nine goals and four helpers in 14 games so far this season. Cammalleri missed seven contests early on because of an injury but has really raised his level of play, especially since Curtis Glencross was sidelined by a knee injury. With the team looking for someone to step up in the veteran’s absence, Cammalleri has netted five goals and added an assist in the last six games.
Whether Cammalleri is in a Flame uniform once the trade deadline has passed is another story for another day, but there’s no doubt if he continues to produce at this level other teams will be interested in adding his offense for a late-season push. He’s in the final year of a contract that pays him a hefty $6 million.
Unfortunately after a surprisingly good start to the campaign, the Flames find themselves where most had anticipated near the basement of the Western Conference standings. Head coach Bob Hartley and his staff don’t have the horses to work with that other teams have, but they are giving a genuine effort on most nights.
Cammalleri and fellow veteran Jiri Hudler are leading the offensive charge, and while he’s cooled off since a hot start to the season, Monahan is looking like he’s the real deal. The talented rookie is second on the team in scoring with eight goals and six assists in 21 games. There are going to be more difficult stretches to endure this season, but the team and its fans should relish nights like the one they enjoyed in Winnipeg.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports