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Flames match historic winning streak at 10 games

Also had double-digit run when franchise was in Atlanta during 1978-79 season

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

The Calgary Flames' winning streak is at 10 games and counting after they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in a shootout at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

It's the longest winning streak for the Flames since the move from Atlanta to Calgary for the 1980-81 season. But it's the second time the franchise has had a double-digit winning streak; while based in Atlanta, the Flames won 10 games in a row from Oct. 14-Nov. 3, 1978.

Those Flames were 6-0-0 at home and 4-0-0 on the road during the streak, outscoring their opponents 55-23. Goaltender Dan Bouchard started and won all 10 games; Brian Elliott has played nine of the 10 games in Calgary's streak, with backup Chad Johnson getting the win in a 4-2 road victory at the Florida Panthers on Feb. 24.

The biggest difference between the streak this season and in 1978 is that all 10 of the wins by the Atlanta Flames came in regulation; regular-season overtime didn't resume until the 1983-84 season. The Calgary Flames are 5-0-0 at home and 5-0-0 on the road during their streak, have outscored opponents 36-18 and also had two shutouts during their streak. However, three of the 10 victories came in overtime and the win against Pittsburgh required a shootout.

The 1978-79 Flames opened their season with a 4-4 tie at the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 11 and played a 3-3 tie against the Washington Capitals in their home opener on Oct. 13. In the second half of the back-to-back set one night later, the Flames got their first win of the season by defeating Washington 6-3 at the Capital Centre. Tom Lysiak scored two unassisted goals in the first period and completed his hat trick by scoring his third goal of the night with 6:49 remaining in the second.

The Flames went back to the Omni in Atlanta and steamrolled their next two opponents. Lysiak had three assists, Willi Plett scored two goals and the Flames defeated the Colorado Rockies 8-2 on Oct. 17. Eric Vail scored twice and the Flames held off a late rally for a 7-5 victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 20.

Video: Flames win 10 straight, Slavin records hat trick

Bouchard had 38 saves in the Flames' 5-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Spectrum on Oct. 22. He got plenty of support, with five players each scoring a goal, giving Atlanta 26 goals in what had become a four-game winning streak.

The offense continued to roll back at the Omni. The Flames trailed the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 after the first period on Oct. 24, but scored two goals in the second and four more in the third for a 7-2 victory. Six Flames found the back of the net; Lysiak, who scored the last two goals, was the only player with more than one.

The New York Islanders were next on Oct. 27, and the Flames continued to fill the net, blowing open a game they led 4-3 after two periods by scoring four times in the third for an 8-5 victory. Eric Vail and Bob MacMillan each scored two goals, and Guy Chouinard scored once and had three assists.

The Flames hopped on a plane and hit the road for a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 28. Playing for the fourth time in six nights, the Flames were outshot 46-24; however, Bouchard made 44 saves and MacMillan scored the go-ahead goal with 1:10 remaining in the third period. David Shand's empty-net goal wrapped up a 4-2 victory that extended the streak to seven games.

After a couple of days of rest, the Flames looked reinvigorated in their game at the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 31. Atlanta led 2-0 after one period and 4-1 after two. Chouinard, who assisted on three of the four goals, wrapped up a 5-2 victory with a goal late in the third period.

Bouchard was flawless one night later back at the Omni. The Flyers outshot the Flames 40-21, but Bouchard made 40 saves for his first shutout of the season and a 3-0 victory. John Gould, Lysiak and Ken Houston scored goals.

The Penguins came to Atlanta on Nov. 3 and made the Flames work. But Bouchard made Jean Pronovost's first-period goal stand up until Lysiak hit the empty net with one second remaining to seal a 2-0 win and the first 10-game winning streak in franchise history. Bouchard made 25 saves for his second shutout in as many games.

But the Flames ran out of gas at the Montreal Forum on Nov. 4. They overcame an early two-goal deficit on goals by Lysiak and Houston, but Guy Lapointe put Montreal ahead 3-2 early in the third period. Yvon Lambert's empty-netter with 14 seconds remaining gave the Canadiens a 4-2 victory and handed the Flames their first loss of the 1978-79 season.

The Flames returned home and won their next two games, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Nov. 10 to improve to 12-1-2. Despite their winning streak and sizzling start, the Flames finished last in the powerful Patrick Division, albeit at 41-31-8 with 90 points that was better than all but two teams in the other three divisions. Atlanta qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs but was swept by the Toronto Maple Leafs in their best-of-3 Preliminary Round series.

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