Rss

Dating back to the first round of the playoffs, the Calgary Flames had lost six consecutive meetings with the Colorado Avalanche heading into Monday night’s game in Denver. So you can probably get why the club was excited about their 5-4 overtime victory over the Avalanche.

Following the game, interim head coach Geoff Ward broke down the win chatting with the assembled media.

I thought the guys did a really good job. We were resilient. I thought they did an excellent job sticking with the process. I thought they did an excellent job looking after the little details that we needed to look after. And as a result, it’s a well-earned win by us.

The overtime game-winner was a pretty picturesque piece of hockey. Mark Giordano stopped a Colorado rush with a poke check. Dillon Dube grabbed the puck and skated into the neutral zone, finding Sean Monahan with a head-man pass. Monahan drove the net and scored.

Ward pointed to the team’s improved defensive play as something that’s enabled the club to get some strong scoring chances.

“When you take a look at our last couple hockey games, we’re starting to get an awful lot of offensive opportunities out of good defensive plays,” said Ward. “Whether it be shot blocks, whether it be tracks, whether it be good reloads, our defensive play now is leading into some offensive opportunities for us and that’s a classic example there.”

The adventures of Dillon Dube

Dube had himself a game. He made a smart offensive zone play to set up the first Flames goal. He made a smart neutral zone play to set up the final Flames goal. Playing just his 10th game of the season, he was engaged in all three zones, and was a difference-maker in a pretty big win for his hockey club.

I have no idea how the Flames can send Dube back to Stockton when Austin Czarnik and/or Sam Bennett return later this week. He’s the easiest guy to send down contractually, but he’s also been a catalyst for a lot of good things for the Flames over the past few weeks.

The Ward Era remains spotless

The Flames have played five games under interim head coach Geoff Ward dating back to their win in Buffalo. They haven’t played spotless hockey. They haven’t dominated the opposition. But it seems like their confidence is growing and their game is building as they see results, particularly with their defensive coverage and breakouts from their own zone.

They’re 5-0-0 under Ward and quietly, suddenly, are just four points back of the vaunted Edmonton Oilers for top spot in the Pacific Division.