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FLAMES REWIND - 04.03.18

Hold on to your helmets, March is gonna be a wild month ... Gulutzan happy there's only one back-to-back down stretch ... Stajan closing in on massive career milestone

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

The run-in to the post-season, with the Western Conference so tightly-packed, promises to play out like a puck version of March Madness.

"When you really look at the schedule,'' said Flames' coach Glen Gulutzan, "are we in the position we wanted to be (in) on this date? No.

"But now we can't look back on that. We have to maximize what we think is a good schedule in the month of March.

"What I like about the month is there's only one back-to-back. It's not crazy travel after we get back from this one (a Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Ottawa itinerary that team leaves for Sunday).

"It's kinda every second day so if you can find your rhythm, this is the month you can find it, instead of a jam-packed February. If we can get our step, get healthy, we can find some rhythm."

The break-down for March is seven at home, seven on the road. 

"The month of February was really taxing on our group with the travel. I felt for a week now that our guys, our top guys especially, looked half a degree off.

"That's why we practiced for 19 minutes (Saturday). That's why we're going straight to the plane (Sunday)."

 

ONE TIMERS

Matt Stajan is now nine starts away from the century mark … The importance of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk to the equation? Well, when Gaudreau scores two or more points in a game, the Flames sport a 17-3 record; when Tkachuk delivers one or more, they're 10-1-0-1.

 

BACKHANDS

TUESDAY: The Dallas Stars received a towering, 38-save performance from goaltender Ben Bishop as Calgary kicked off a quick two-game, back-to-back road junket losing 2-0 in Big D.

WEDNESDAY: The 3M Line got the Flames off to a great start in Denver, with Mikael Backlund and Micheal Frolik both scoring by the three-minute mark of the second period to establish a 2-0 lead, but the host Colorado Avalanche then reeled off five straight goals for a 5-2 victory.

FRIDAY: The Flames generated a season-high 51 shots at the Scotiabank Saddledome but NY Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist spit back all but one, including a luminous, diving, back-of-the-blocker gem against Backlund with the score tied, and were beaten 3-1 by the visiting Easterners. Defenceman Brett Kulak counted his second goal of the season - both arriving against the Rangers - to provide Calgary's only offensive payoff.

 

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