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FLAMES REWIND - 26.03.17

Team doesn't want to sneak into playoffs, they want to arrive with a bang

by AARON VICKERS @aavickers /

No backing in.

No excuse-me invitations.

No help from outside sources.

The Flames want to burst through the front door in clinching their first appearance into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three seasons.

"We've started a little bit of a different chant in our locker-room as far as what we're looking for moving forward," said coach Glen Gulutzan, following a 3-2 overtime win at the St. Louis Blues on Saturday to end a brief, two-game skid.

"Good teams don't need any help getting into the playoffs. They find a way to get in themselves.

"We had to push, and that's what we've kind of talked about over the last two days. 
"Good teams find ways to get themselves in a playoff spot. I thought our guys really did a good job of pushing [Saturday] and moving us a step forward to getting one."

Truth be told, the group has put themselves in a great spot.

That's thanks in part to a franchise-record tying 10-game winning streak that morphed into a 12-1-0 run prior to a two-game losing stretch. That was part of a bigger 21 game run that saw the Flames drop just three games in regulation, and post 17 wins.

Not bad.

So much so that the Flames, holders of the first wildcard entry into the playoffs from the Western Conference, have built an 11-point gap on the Los Angeles Kings - the only team feasibly trying to chase down Calgary to get into the postseason.

It'll be tough to surrender a lead that big.

But, as Gulutzan suggested, the group has to clinch on their own merit.

No help needed.

"We've got to do things ourselves," Gulutzan said. "We've got things in our own hands with who we play coming up and at home.

"It's time now.

 "Good teams get themselves into the playoffs and we've got to push forward here for the next few at home."

Video: Gulutzan talks about Flames OT win in St. Louis


Mikael Backlund got the nod as Calgary's nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by the Calgary chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA)."It's an honour to be the nominee," he said. He'll compete with a few former Flames for the award, among the other 29 nominees. Paul Byron (Montreal Canadiens) and Jarome Iginla (Los Angeles Kings) also earned nods for the award, which goes to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. …The flu? No big deal. Brian Elliott battled a bout of sickness that couldn't slow his roll, a run of 11 straight wins to tie Mike Vernon for the franchise record set between Jan. 17-Feb. 27, 1989. A loss at the Washington Capitals on Tuesday ended Elliott's bid to set a new mark. …Congrats to a trio of players signing entry-level contracts. Forward Dillon Dube and goaltender Tyler Parsons, both second-round picks in the 2016 NHL Draft, and defencemen Ryan Healy each signed deals. Healy spent four years at Ohio State before signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Flames. "Signing (here) kind of feels like coming home," he told Torie Peterson of "I've dreamed of this my whole life. I'm ready to get started."


The trio of prospects weren't the only to sign with Calgary this week. Ryan Lomberg, a 22-year-old forward who is in his second season with the Stockton Heat, inked his first NHL contract. "It's a big relief," Lomberg told "Something I was shooting for since I can remember so to finally have all the papers signed and done, it's pretty exciting. It's out of the way and now I can focus on doing whatever I can to help my team win here and make a case for getting called up as soon as I can." Lomberg, who had been skating in the minors with the Heat on an AHL contract, was upgraded last Sunday. His job isn't done yet, though. "I'm aware of the fact that just because I'm signed with the Flames doesn't mean the work stops," said Lomberg, who has eight goals, 19 points and 115 penalty minutes this season. "I'm level headed about the fact that I'm going to have to work a lot harder if I want the opportunity to get called up and prove I belong in the NHL."



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