Anna Santiago The Hockey Writers
The Flames Files: A Wild Card Couple of Weeks
Just call them the Find-A-Way Flames.
They have the best record of come-from-behind wins and put on the most spectacular show when it comes to third period performances. And suddenly, within the last two seasons, the Calgary Flames have gone from being a perpetual bottom-feeder in the standings to stalking the Wild Card spot in their conference. And though it may be a tight race to reach that spot, the Flames, true to their newfound nature, are putting up one hell of a fight.
Weeks 15 and 16 were red-hot for the Flames. Out of seven games, they only dropped two: to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and to the L.A. Kings. Not a bad record considering the two teams who handed them those losses were the reigning Stanley Cup champions and the team that has the best player on the league on it.
Those losses aside, the Flames collectively pooled their efforts and talents into their five wins against the Winnipeg Jets, the San Jose Sharks, the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins.
Like the good helper that he is, Johnny Gaudreau nabbed himself six assists in seven games. The underrated, under-the-radar David Jones was the team’s leading scorer in those two weeks, with four goals and two assists.
As a whole, the Flames put in work, and are now tied in the Pacific for the Wild Card spot with the Vancouver Canucks.
But it wasn’t all wins, points and celebrations this past few weeks. On Sunday, February 15th, the hockey world was saddened by news of the death of former Flame Steve Montador. At the age of 35, Montador was found unconscious in his home in Mississauga, Ontario and was pronounced dead soon after. Known for a fun-loving attitude on and off the ice, Montador’s NHL career ended in 2012 after suffering a series of concussions, which led to a severe case of depression. Like Rick Rypien, the result of the excessive head injuries and subsequent mental illness likely contributed to Montador’s death.
Like those of Rypien, Wade Belak, Derek Boogard and Bob Probert, the death of Steve Montador once again brings to light the gravity of head injuries in the NHL.
He may not have been the most well-known former member of the Calgary Flames, but fans will never forget the spectacular overtime winner Montador scored during the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.
The Flames honoured Montador before their Monday night game against the Boston Bruins. For their former Flame, who was a big part of their last playoff run, the Flames bounced back from a 3-0 deficit to win the game 4-3 in overtime (with 1.9 seconds left, no less) and keep themselves in the running for the Wild Card spot.
Hoping to keep on rolling and racking up the points, the Flames host the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.
Stay tuned for Week Seventeen of The Flames Files and follow the Calgary Flames’ progress in the 2014-2015 season.
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