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STANDING BEHIND TKACHUK

Treliving says he firmly supports his player and disagrees with one-game suspension

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

Driving on Saturday afternoon from Toronto and a meeting of NHL general managers to Buffalo, N.Y., where he's skedded to start some scouting, Brad Treliving kept anxious tabs on his hockey team.

The GM was certainly ecstatic with the end result, a Sean Monahan-inspired, drama-soaked 5-4 Flames' comeback OT victory at the Wells Fargo Center against the Philadelphia Flyers.

What irked him, and continues to, was Matthew Tkachuk not being allowed to play any part.

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FAMILY AFFAIR

Jankowski carries on rich tradition with the game of hockey

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

The spry 90-year-old carrot-topped Hall-of-Famer is keeping tabs on his great-nephew.

"I'll bet his dad's walking on air right now,'' laughs Red Kelly, a characteristic Irish twinkle in his voice. "I think that's great.

"I know he's proud. We all are.

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Ol' Willie Nelson would be proud as Flames embark on season-long 12-day, six game trek away from the Scotiabank Saddledome

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

As someone first-hand familiar with the annual two-week road trip to accommodate Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus unloading clowns, trapeze wires and cotton candy into the United Centre each November, Michael Frolik is well versed in late check-outs, judicious packing and long treks away from home.

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SCORING SOME RELIEF

Bennett notches first goal of the season, lifting big weight off his shoulders

by GEORGE JOHNSON @georgejohnsonCH / calgaryflames.com

The expression on Sam Bennett's face went past bliss, beyond balm for the soul.

It was the look of pure relief.

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JOHNNY BE UNBELIEVABLY GOOD!

Flames star scoring at a torrid pace this season and putting his name into the Art Ross hunt

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

This, says Martin Gelinas, goes beyond ascending grades of good, better or great.

Into the realm of the celestial.

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CZECH THAT OFF THE LIST

Living legend Jagr pots first goal and assists on Jankowski's first career tally in momentous night

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

He notched his first goal 27 years and 33 days ago, in a building that no longer exists (the Pittsburgh Igloo) and now serves as a parking lot, assisted by a guy (Chris Dahlquist) who's been retired for two full decades, against a goaltender who's 52 years old and currently in charge of the NY Islanders' puck-stoppers (Chris Tererri).

"That,'' marvelled Mark Jankowski, "is wild."

Ain't it just.

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MISSED CHANCE

Gulutzan says team's 'got to find a way to get it done' after tough loss to Canucks

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

Defeat by self-inflicted wounds.

"I thought the goals we gave,'' complained captain Mark Giordano softly in the aftermath, "were just exactly that - we gave them.

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OLD-SCHOOL BARN BURNER

Tkachuk and Ferland shine in Flames 'break out' victory

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

For the moment, Matthew Tkachuk's shootout 'book' is nothing more than a leaflet.

"Honestly, I just have three moves,'' confessed the sophomore sensation. "Same three moves since I've been … I dunno. Maybe like midget-minor, three years ago.

"I just have those three moves in my head. I look at the shooters before me and I just kinda decide when I touch the puck."

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NET PRESENCE

Mike Smith has been turning in big-game performances all season, earning plenty of praise from his teammates

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

In the last global census, Smith remained the most common surname in the English language, with over four million bearers.

In and amongst all those Smiths, that broad-based mass of relative anonymity, one particular Smith who settled here only a few months ago has shown to be anything but ordinary.

Extraordinary, in fact.

Uncommon, more than anything.

Other-worldly, if you get right down to it.

"He's been our best player,'' declared no less an authority on these matters than Flames captain Mark Giordano late Thursday night, in the wake of another Mike Smith masterclass.

"It isn't even close."

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KIPPER-ESQUE!

Smith simply outstanding in 43-save performance en route to 2-1 win

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

Mark Giordano knows what it's like to be in the presence of a master.

"Kipper-worthy?" marvelled the captain. "Yeah, I'd say so. And that's high praise. The highest.

"If you look at the quality of their chances, the saves he made tonight … that's a good team, a championship team, armed with some of the best players in the world, playing at their best, I thought.

"Deflections, breakaways, one-timers … that's a goalie win, for sure.

"He's been our best player this year. It's not even close. "

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