The hottest team in the National Hockey League are the Calgary Flames. On Sunday, the Flames won their third game in four days in the southeastern United States when they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1.
The Flames have now won seven straight games and outscored their opponents 27-14 over that time period. They have also moved into second place in the Pacific Division and past the Los Angeles Kings, who have lost their last three games in a row.
Calgary is moving toward their 10 game winning streak last year, which was a major reason why they qualified for the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs. From February 21 to March 13, 2017, the Flames became the talk of the National Hockey League. During that particular streak, the Flames beat both teams who played in the Stanley Cup Finals, as they won in Nashville 6-5 and then beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in a shootout.
What has been most impressive of the Flames streak in 2018, is how many close games they won since it started on New Year’s Eve. In the first four wins, the Flames recorded a one goal victory.
Mike Smith and David Rittich deserve some credit, because they have been flawless. The Flames have actually been outshot in the last four games of the streak, but Smith and Rittich have made a minimum of 33 saves, with Rittich making 41 saves in a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Friday.
The Flames are also getting offense from their defense. In the win over the Hurricanes on Sunday, Dougie Hamilton scored twice. Hamilton also got the game winning goal with 16 seconds left in the third period in a 3-2 Flames win over the Anaheim Ducks and the overtime winner in a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. In the game that started the streak, Mark Giordano had the overtime winner and added an assist in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Now it will be very interesting to see how the Flames respond to the long layoff. The Flames do not play until Saturday when they host the high-flying Winnipeg Jets in a matinee game at the Scotiabank Saddledome, which is part of Hockey Day in Canada. Six of the Flames next seven games take place in Calgary.