The celebration by Blake Coleman was short but intense. Sort of like most of the Calgary Flames winger’s shifts.
He’d just scored his fourth goal of the year – his first in more than a month – to tie the game a couple of minutes after the Anaheim Ducks took a 1-0 lead in their Friday night fight. It was pretty obvious how that one felt after a 16-game cold snap that saw him collect just a pair of assists despite being a key component of one of the team’s better lines with Mikael Backlund and Andrew Mangiapane.
Well, head coach Darryl Sutter threw the numbers in the blender and mixed up his combinations in Anaheim. If nothing else, it seemed to work out for Coleman and his new centre, Sean Monahan.
Both of them scored in the 4-3 shootout victory against the Ducks.
For Coleman, the personal performance was prophesized by the words he spoke during the pre-game conversations with the media.
“I’m not overly concerned about the production since I know what I’m capable of and so does the team. It’ll come,” said Coleman, who fired a goal on his first shot as a member of the Calgary Flames this season and scored his first three goals in his first half-dozen games.
Prophetic. But even better because the goal came during a big win, with the Flames starting the four-game trip 2-0 in Southern California.
Coleman downplayed his frustration earlier in the day, pointing to the team’s success as the only salient point on the season so far.
“I definitely have higher expectations of where I should be in that department, I guess. But at the same time, I just want to win games and the team’s been doing that,” Coleman said. “When things are going wrong you start to look and pick and try to decide what the problems are. Fortunately, when things are going well, sure, it’s still frustrating and you still wish you were doing more, and you want to do more, but you feel validated in the sense that you’re doing enough in different parts of the game to allow your team to win.”
The Flames got it all on Friday.
Elias Lindholm and Monahan scored in the second period outburst, but Rickard Rickell netted one for the Ducks in the final minute of the second frame to set up a comeback. Vinni Lettieri scored a couple minutes into the third period on a Ducks powerplay to draw even again.
That was it for regulation, with Noah Hanifin still cursing a pair of posts in the first period.
In overtime, the teams played it safe. Things would be decided by the shootout. Dan Vladar‘s first as a member of the Calgary Flames.
Vladar stoned Trevor Zegras. Johnny Gaudreau roofed his shot to put the Flames in prime position. And after Vladar rejected Kevin Shattenkirk, Matthew Tkachuk made a dirty dangle to clinch it. A fitting end with Tkachuk getting under the Ducks players’ skin all night long.
Oh, and Vladar? He’s still unbeaten in regulation, moving to 5-0-1 on the season.
He had lots of support from his forward group, however. This team can score up and down the lineup. Even when the coach shakes the lines up.
“I think that’s what this team has, though. They have guys that whether they’re scoring or not they’re making an impact in some area of the game,” Coleman said. “It’s taking a full roster every night to win and different guys have stepped up and gotten hot at different times and scored big goals for us.”
On Friday, Coleman was just happy to be one of them again.