"I think that would be a huge testament to the identity we've been working to create all year," said forward Kevin Westgarth, whose Flames sit 26th overall in the NHL and have long been out of the Stanley Cup Playoff picture. "Obviously we've had a lot of downs but a lot of ups as well, and to finish the season the way we have I think would be a huge plus going forward for next year."
The Flames, who conclude their 2013-14 season Sunday in Vancouver, have gone 12-4-0 at home since dropping a franchise record seven straight games at the Saddledome from Dec. 27-Jan. 16. They've outscored opponents 58-42 during their recent run.
Coach Bob Hartley admitted it's taken a lot of work to even up their record in Calgary.
"We're pushing," he said. "We have that playoff mindset. The guys really bought into this. We had some meetings in the past couple days and they even mentioned they really enjoyed it. It's to their credit because obviously we're just pretending, but the guys bought in and it became serious and it has been fun and now we're winning games.
"Winning is a taste you acquire. Everyone wants to win, but knowing how to win, it's a process that you need to go through, through tough times, through good times and suddenly you know the recipe that's going to get you there."
Westgarth believes the taste the Flames have gotten will heighten expectations for the rebuilding club next year.
"Nobody wants to play without expectations. It's an awful place to be," he said. "Sometimes it sucks to know that you're not really playing for the playoffs or something more, or at least have that be the expectation. It's a lot of fun to break those expectations, but you never want to be there, and hopefully with how we finish the season we can figure out a way to get better over the summer."
Here are the projected lineups for the Flames and Jets on Friday:
Scratched: Ben Chiarot
Injured: Zach Bogosian (upper body), Dustin Byfuglien (muscle tear), Grant Clitsome (back), Keaton Ellerby (lower body), Andrew Ladd (elbow), Al Montoya (undisclosed), Mark Scheifele (knee), Chris Thorburn (talus), James Wright (ankle)