In a rare feat for a team as low in the standings as the Calgary Flames currently occupy, the Flames have made their home arena a fortress of winning.
Monday night’s 2-1 shootout victory over the visiting San Jose Sharks proves just how tough of a chore it is for visiting teams to fashion a win in the Scotiabank Saddledome. While the Sharks find themselves with the second-best record in the Western Conference, even they, with their high octane offense, struggled in Calgary.
After giving up 18 shots in the opening period, things appeared bleak for the Flames. Surely, it was only a matter of time before the dam burst. However, the Flames ratcheted up their defensive effort while outshooting the Sharks the remainder of the game 19-16. Only James Sheppard‘s tally as the first period drew to a close was able to beat the fantastic Karri Ramo.
The Flames, now winners of 10 of their past 13 home games, still sit just one notch above the beleaguered Edmonton Oilers at the bottom of the West. They can, however, hang their hat on some impressive home victories. Included in those 10 victories, the Flames have beaten the Sharks twice and the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks once each. When it comes to progressing in the right direction, these quality victories over legitimate Stanley Cup contenders go a long ways in the morale and confidence departments, especially for a team as young as the Flames.
Two stern tests at home still await the Flames in the coming days. The aforementioned Ducks will be in town on Wednesday looking to avenge a 7-2 shellacking two weeks prior, followed by the New York Rangers on Friday.
The Flames have to fancy their chances.