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Treliving optimistic with Flames recent play

The team picked up back-to-back wins to start the week and limited their opponents to a single goal

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- That 7-10-1 record and a fifth-place ranking in the Pacific Division isn't exactly where Calgary Flames fans expected to see their hometown club a little over a month into the 2016-17 NHL season.

They're not alone.

The general manager envisioned more, too.

Still, Brad Treliving has seen some positive signs of late that he believes have his Flames trending in the right direction.

"The start and the record and all that sort of stuff … it's not what we wanted either," Treliving said. "We're all responsible. I think (coach Glen Gulutzan) has done an excellent job of pushing this group along. He has got the ear of that locker room in there.

"We're not making excuses at the end. It starts with me. I fully believe in the way he's pushing this group along, how we need to play in order to have some success. We understand the passion of this fan base. Nobody wants to have success more than we do.

"But I'm really encouraged. We've seen this before. We've seen a little stretch where we feel like we're getting some traction and hopefully we're getting some traction moving forward."

Weariness in the fanbase is understandable, though.

Especially after the Flames skated out to a near identical record last fall.

Calgary started with a 6-11-1 record, a blow that saw the home side finish 10 points, and three other teams, back of the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card entry from the Western Conference into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The trying season, one year removed from advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004, led to Treliving replacing then-coach Bob Hartley with Gulutzan in the off-season.

Fast forward to another slow start.

But a four-game losing streak has given way to a two-game winning streak, and increased optimism that the team has turned a corner.

"We're trying to change a bit of how we play in order to give us a chance to have success long-term," Treliving said. "In this league you've got to score goals. It's been a challenge for us here lately. But you've got to keep them out of your net, you have to be able to defend and you have to be comfortable in tight games."

Comfortable, Calgary has been of late.

Though they've managed just three goals in the past two games, the Flames have limited their opposition to just one.

Calgary shut out the Wild 1-0 at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday, and returned to the familiar confines of Scotiabank Saddledome to net a 2-1 overtime win against the visiting Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday.

All without star forward Johnny Gaudreau (finger) for four periods.

And the tests will continue without him for upwards of six weeks.

"It doesn't get any easier," Treliving said. "We have a hell of a (Chicago Blackhawks) team coming in here tomorrow night and we're back on the road.

"We have to bear down here and just try to eat the elephant one bite at a time here. But playing sound and playing tight and being stingy like we have the last two nights, we're going to have to continue that."

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