I can't stand behind the bench by myself. I have great partners. I have great players. That's the beauty of this sport. It's a team environment. I don't coach for my own record. I coach for my team. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley earned his 400th career win as a head coach in the NHL, but not without a bit of drama he should be used to now from his team.
An NHL-leading sixth win when trailing after two periods.
“It makes it special because the guy across gave me many wins,” Hartley said.
“I can't stand behind the bench by myself. I have great partners. I have great players. That's the beauty of this sport. It's a team environment. I don't coach for my own record. I coach for my team. I never say that I won championships, I say that my team's won championships. You have to stay very humble in those moments because they're always tough times.”
The Flames narrowly avoided some tough times Thursday.
Trailing the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in the third period, forward Curtis Glencross came down the gut and one-timed the tying goal.
But with just under six minutes remaining in the period, Alex Tanguay, who Hartley had coached in both Colorado and Calgary, snapped a wrist shot past goaltender Karri Ramo to give the Avalanche a lead.
It set the stage for Dennis Wideman, who blasted a shot from the top of the circle behind Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov to tie the game with 1:17 remaining in regulation.
After taking the game to OT, star forward Sean Monahan buried a rebound to win the game only 1:47 into OT.
Monahan couldn’t have been happier to help his coach.
“It’s well deserved,” he said. “That’s a big one for him. Obviously he used to be there (in Colorado). Right now we’re rolling. Even as a group we knew we had to find a way to win that one.”
He wasn’t the only one happy to help.
“It’s pretty sweet for him to get that against a team he won the Cup with back in the day,” Glencross said. “I imagine it’s one he’ll never forget and he came in after the game and said that his 400th win wasn’t as important as it is for us to get into the playoffs.”
Even Colorado coach Patrick Roy, whom Hartley coached to a Stanley Cup in 2001 in Colorado, expressed sentiment for his former bench boss.
"I’m happy for him,” Roy said. “But I wish he would have done it another night."
Hartley joins an elite group of coaches who have hit the 400-win plateau. He becomes the 12nd active coach and 33rd in NHL history to achieve it.
He was given the Flames’ fire hat following the game, an honour that goes to the team’s hardest worker.
“To be honest with you, I think I have no business to have this prestigious fire helmet,” he said. “I told the players that I really respected the fact that they presented me with the helmet, but I told them that I'm ready to trade that helmet to see them in the playoffs.
“I told them, 'This is a special team.' ... I don't know where this season, this story, is going. But it's certainly fun and it's certainly very entertaining for us as a coaching staff to be with this group of guys.”