Flames Are Burning Up Western Conference

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 5:10 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2017 5:10 PM UTC

In reviewing the standings in recent weeks, we have covered a lot of ground and a number of team scenarios with regards to who will or won't make the Stanley Cup playoffs. Today, we look at the red-hot Calgary Flames. 

One name that had not come up at all as a Western Conference contender was the Calgary Flames, who were in the midst of another nondescript campaign and not on anyone's radar, until now. Quietly and with little commotion, Calgary has won seven in a row and is 12-2-1 since late January to vault to third place tie in the Pacific Division and tied for 5th in the Western Conference.

What Changed For Calgary?

If you look at current stats and try to determine why the Flames are so hot, a ranking of 14th in goals allowed does not do justice for a team that is defying the NHL odds. Instead, consider Calgary's last 10 contests, where only once have it permitted more than two goals. Goalie Brian Elliott is playing more like he did with St. Louis (acquired from Blues this offseason) when he was so effective, and the defense is giving more effort to support the sizzling netminder.

Calgary has been punishing the Eastern Conference for some reason in winning eight straight and is on 10-1 SU roll for NHL picks. And the team's next four contests are all against the East. The Flames have also been lucky and good all season when it comes to OT, having the second-fewest losses in the league and are 11-4 SU overall, which accounts for about one-third of their total points.

Jump on the Calgary express while it is hot!

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