Halfway through their season, planted in a playoff position, the Calgary Flames finished strong heading into the NHL All-Star break.
And they seem to be answering some important questions along the way.
One of them – arguably the biggest – is where the secondary scoring is going to come from.
With a pair of goals in a 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night, Blake Coleman put his hand up. It was his first multi-goal game in the Flaming C.
The Calgary Flames are heavily connected to some of the scoring forwards on the NHL trade block right now. But getting more offence from within is a welcome event.
The top trio of Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk does the heavy lifting, but Coleman is heating up and showing why the Flames threw a six-year deal worth nearly $30 million at him in free agency last summer.
The 30-year-old is on pace for around 20 goals. He’s also the leader of the “Little Things Club.”
(Get your head out of the gutter – little things is the cliché for the many details of the game played without the puck).
Coleman has six goals and 10 points in 14 games since the extended holiday break. It’s not a coincidence the Flames have won five of their last six. And six of their last eight games.
“He’s chipped in offensively,” said Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. “Mang (Andrew Mangiapane) and him, Mikael (Backlund) have been good together. It’s good to see (Coleman) get rewarded for his work.”
Coleman more than just a secondary scorer for Flames
Coleman also laid a big hit on Coyotes defenceman Jakob Chychrun. And he avoided having to drop the gloves with Lawson Crouse afterward. He finished with three points on the night, overshadowed only by defenceman Chris Tanev who had a career four-point night.
“We’re a great team,” said Coleman. “If we can round out different ways to win games and just find different guys to step up each night and be difference-makers, we’re going to be a pretty dangerous team down the stretch.”
They’re already there if you look at the Pacific Division standings right now. The Flames are in a wild card spot at the moment. But they are a fraction behind the Vegas Golden Knights in points percentage (.619) with a 23-13-6 record at the break.
They have four games in hand on the Knights, and even more on the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks at the moment.
“We know where we stand, how hard it is gong to be to get in (the playoffs),” Sutter said of their benchmark at the break.
“We set goals and we’re trying to meet them.”