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Flames wrap up a road-heavy schedule in November

The Flames were pleased with the bulk of their road play this past month

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- The marathon month for the Calgary Flames is in the rearview.

The Flames, who played a season-high 11 games away from Scotiabank Saddledome in the month of November, will tuck themselves into their own beds for nine of the next 14 games at home.

But not before reflecting back on the month that was away from it.

After five road games in October, the Flames spent more time away from Calgary than in it.  

After posting a 1-3-0 record on their first road trip of the month that saw them play opposite the Chicago Blackhawks before returning west to tour California, the Flames rebounded to take a single mid-month meeting at the Minnesota Wild.

Calgary concluded the month on a season-long six-game, 10-day trip exclusively against Eastern Conference opponents that saw them nab seven of a possible 12 points to even their road record at 5-5-1 and return home with some momentum.

"It seems like on the road, we play a little bit of a less risky, a little bit of a dumbed down version of our game and keep it simple," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said prior to playing at the Joe Louis Arena one final time before the Detroit Red Wings usher in a new rink in 2017.

"And I think that helps us."

It did, especially in the back-half of the month in allowing Calgary to turn in their 3-2-1 record under trying circumstances.

The results are satisfying given the Flames ventured away from Calgary for more than 200 consecutive hours, started and ended the trip with back-to-back games, and travelled, in total, over 8000 kilometers from start to finish.

Those efforts were highlighted by significant contributions at each position.

Goaltender Chad Johnson won all three games on the road trip, allowing just three goals in the process including a shutout performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 23. Johnson also tended the net in shutting out the Wild on Nov. 15.  

In all, Johnson went 5-2-0 with a 2.00 GAA and .934 save percentage in seven road appearances in November.

Equally impressive in the month was rookie forward Matthew Tkachuk.

Tkachuk, who shares the team-lead in goals at six with center Sean Monahan, scored four times in 11 games away from Calgary, an added a single assist. The 18-year-old did it in limited time, too, after serving a team-high 33 minutes in penalties along the way.

His five points was surpassed only by defenceman Dougie Hamilton, who yielded six assists. 

Those individual efforts were much needed to help push the collective.

The run bumped the overall road record to 7-6-1 to help compensate for a 3-7-0 mark at home.

It also helped special teams, too.

Calgary's power play on the road in November clicked at an 11.1 percent rate, slightly above the 10.4 percent it sits at with one final home date left in the month. The penalty kill away from home, at 81.4 percent, also marks a slight improvement from the 76.8 percent mark it currently sits at overall. 

All steps in the right direction.

And with headway on the road, the Flames have the opportunity to translate some momentum moving forward.

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