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EIGHT WITH AN EXCLAMATION POINT

Victory over Habs was "one of our better games all year" says Giordano

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

The GR8 doesn't only exist in Washington.

It's here.

Now.

"I'd say out of the eight,'' reckoned skipper Mark Giordano, reflecting on a Mother Lode run of success that kicked off Feb. 21st in Nashville, "that was the most complete.

"And one of our better games all year.

"I thought we did a great job managing the puck. We didn't give up much tonight. 

"And when we did, Moose was there, as he has been all during this streak."

Video: Giordano talks about team getting Elliott the shutout

In tying the Calgary-based record of eight Ws on the trot, the skyrocketing Flames delivered a Who's Your Daddy? performance during a 5-0 pistol-whipping of the Montreal Canadiens.

The franchise mark for consecutive wins is 10, set in '78-79 when based in Atlanta. But the eight in succession equals the 2005-06, 1992-93 and 1988-89 Calgary bests.

And in the doing there was so much sugar-overload goodness to choose from:

- Johnny Gaudreau's four-point (1G, 3A) turn boosting his streak-long total to 13.

- Michael Ferland's sixth goal in the eight-date run, unleashing the kind of shot legendary Canadiens' play-by-play man Danny Gallivan would have referred to as "cannonading."

- And Brian Elliott's 24-save shutout, his first in red-and-white silks and the 35th of his career.

"It seems like it's been awhile for me,'' acknowledged Elliott, on a bit of roll (11-1-1 in his last 13 decisions) of his own. "But the way we won … just a solid effort through-and-through. They were a hot team coming here and we were a hot team.

"It's just fun to be on this ride right now with the guys. Personally, you want to stay playing well, feeling good, seeing the puck.

"But when the guys are playing like they are in front of you, you just stop a couple and they do the rest."

The only downside to a dominant evening at the office - and that concern has the potential to be damaging - were injuries to two of the Top-4 defencemen - Doug Hamilton, enjoying a superb season, and Michael Stone, who'd earlier scored his first goal as a Flame.

Hamilton suffered a lower-body injury while Stone's problem was classified an upper-body injury.

"You're always concerned,'' said coach Glen Gulutzan. "We'll have to see in the morning where everybody's at and re-evaluate it."

After Stone headed down the tunnel, joining Hamilton in the locker-room for examination, Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Matt Bartkowski and Deryk Engelland spent the remainder of the third period on their own.

Leaving them in quite a pickle, down to four on the back end, and Elliott's shutout bid to defend.

"The biggest thing that was said on the bench is that we're playing for each other,'' said Gulutzan. "You could see the guys did that, I don't think we turned the puck over in the third. We just wanted to make sure we were playing the right way.

"No one says it on the bench, no one says the word, but we knew what we were playing for."

Giordano shrugged off the additional workload.

"It's not that tough when you have a four or five-nothing lead,'' he joked. "But I think you've just got to simplify, keep the shifts short and really picking your spots jumping in because there's not much time to recover."

No. 13 summed up the night best.

"We played great, offensive zone, defensive zone, neutral zone,'' agreed Gaudreau, at his sublime best on this night in scoring his 14th on the year in the third. "We were able to get pucks to the net, score greasy goals and some nice ones.

"A great 60 minutes by our entire team."

The two points allowed Calgary to slide alongside Edmonton into third in the Pacific Division and continue their upward trending.

"It's an achievement. A carrot,'' said Eliott of the streak. "They're always nice. But it's not our focus. I know it sounds cliche, and you don't want to hear it, but we do just take it game-by-game. We've talked about fighting complacency.

"At this time of year, different teams are fighting for different things, whether they're in or out of it. We just have to have that goal of not getting caught up in anything, just going about our business, keep pushing forward, looking ahead of us.

"It's a simple recipe."

Video: Elliott on his shutout and the Flames solid effort

Right now, they're throwing the ingredients together like Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay. It's a savoury mix.

So with apologies to Alexander Ovechkin, a Gr8 was achieved in southern Alberta on Thursday evening.

Leaving Saturday night in Winnipeg as the chance to stand alone. To reach Cloud 9.

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