Duehr Shows In Win Over Sharks That Youth Movement Could Help Flames Now And In Future
Walker Duehr helps Calgary Flames stay NHL playoff relevant with win over San Jose Sharks. A youth movement might help the Flames down the stretch.
The Calgary Flames are on the brink of a youth movement.
With eight games left and a need for at least five more points than the Winnipeg Jets to secure an NHL playoff spot – while keeping the Nashville Predators at bay, too – we’ve seen a little less of rookies Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr. But if/when official elimination happens,Flames head coach Darryl Sutter can drop the leash.
Meanwhile, his GM Brad Treliving is trying hard to convince top prospect Matthew Coronato to call it a college career and join the big club for their final few games to ensure the Flames retain one of their biggest pieces for the future.
But maybe the injection of youth is something that can work both for now, and the future. It sure looked like it on Saturday afternoon, as Duehr put in a first-star performance in a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks at the Saddledome.
“I felt good. Felt fresh,” Duehr, who scored the tying goal in the second period and added an assist on Nazem Kadri’s winning marker in the third, told reporters post-game. “It’s awesome. It’s what you want to do as a player, right? With my game, it’s not always with scoring and putting pucks in the net to contribute, but it’s on other nights with hits.
“When you can get on the scoresheet, it’s always a nice feeling to help the team win.”
Sprinkled in among some healthy scratches, Duehr has been very productive on that scoresheet. He has a pair of goals and five assists in his last six games — although he’s been scratched in four of the team’s last 10.
He was a spark plug on Saturday, and doesn’t look out of place regardless of where you put him in the lineup. MacKenzie Weegar started the scoring, with Tyler Toffoli making it 2-0 in the first period with his 30th of the season. He'd get an empty netter later, too. But not before the Sharks took the lead with three straight from Logan Couture, Nico Sturm and Martin Kaut.
Then Duehr one-timed a pass from Trevor Lewis 25 seconds later to stop the bleeding and send the game to the third period tied 3-3. His hard play on the puck on Kadri's winner made the rebound goal possible.
"It’s motivating,” Kadri, who after a lengthy slump has scored in back-to-back games, said of what Duehr brings to the ice. “You look for the young guys to provide energy. “
Walks is a great kid. He’s willing to learn."
Maybe he has something to teach.