A rejuvenated offense has sparked a remarkable turnaround in the home ice fortunes for the Calgary Flames. The team is now riding a season-high three-game win streak thanks to an exciting 5-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. T.J. Brodie netted the game-winner in overtime as the Flames surprisingly made it two wins in three contests in the season series against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
In an abysmal stretch from Dec. 27 to Jan. 16, the Flames lost a franchise record seven straight games on home ice producing a dismal four goals in total. They were blanked in four of those games. The team finally broke the ice in a recent 3-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes putting that unwanted record of futility to bed. Since then, Flames head coach Bob Hartley has seen his charges soar in confidence, and the old mantra of pucks to the net and traffic paid dividends in a 5-4 shootout win over the Nashville Predators and the triumph against the Hawks. For the Flames, 12 goals in regulation during a three-game stretch this season amounts to an offensive avalanche.
It would seem startling that a team that had so much trouble putting the puck in the net would win back-to-back games where Hartley was forced to give his starting goalies the hook. Reto Berra came on for an ineffective Karri Ramo in the win against the Predators while it was Ramo who came on in the third period in relief of a shaky Berra and was flawless against the Hawks.
Mikael Backlund has continued his solid stretch of play by netting a pair in the win against Chicago, including a shorthanded marker that gave him 11 goals on the season. Matt Stajan and David Jones have made nice contributions in this three-game run with two goals and two assists apiece while Lance Bouma continues to show why he’s Hartley’s pick as most improved player during the 2013-14 season. The rugged forward has always been a player who throws his body around and blocks shots, but he has exhibited a scoring touch of late with a pair of goals in the last three games.
While the Flames’ current streak has gotten them to only 19-27-7 on the season, the effort-level and more importantly the offensive execution has been ramped up dramatically. The confidence level of the group as a whole has also soared thanks to the recent goal-scoring outburst. Thankfully, after suffering through the worst home stretch in the team’s history, the Flames have finally been able to provide plenty of excitement for their passionate fans.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports