In case anyone doubted the notion that Elias Lindholm is a game-breaker as Darryl Sutter mentioned after the Calgary Flames centre netted the winning goal against the Seattle Kraken this week, Lindholm proved it again.
The relatively unheralded Lindholm tipped in the game-winner in a 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday to equal a franchise record with a goal in his eighth-straight game. It secured the 10th straight win for the Calgary Flames – which also tied a franchise mark.
It’s been that kind of run for Lindholm and the Flames of late.
After the Kraken game, Sutter said Lindholm doesn’t get the attention he deserves because he hasn’t been on a top team yet. Foreshadowing what could be around the corner in the playoffs, Sutter added that maybe that changes this year.
And after Lindholm again netted the winner on Monday, with seconds remaining in regulation, Sutter questioned the notion that goals aren’t the strength of Lindholm’s game.
“I’m not so sure it isn’t,” Sutter said. “Goal-scoring is one thing. There’s lots of guys who score goals but don’t score big goals, or at playoff time don’t get scoring chances.
“(Lindholm) scores big goals, which usually translates into the next part.”
The next part is winning in the playoffs, which fans are feeling pretty good about given the fact the Calgary Flames sit first in the Pacific Division with a seven-game home sweep in the bank.
The coach, of course, isn’t taking that cushion for granted even though the team still has games in hand on its division rivals in the playoff hunt.
“A cushion is a pillow with feathers, right,” Sutter said. “Every game you lose, take a few feathers out. Pretty soon you’ve just got your head on no cushion at all.”
He’s not all that impressed by the 10-game streak, either.
“I don’t put a whole lot into 10 in a row unless they were 10 in a row in the playoffs,” Sutter said, poker face on.
Now might be the time to put a bet down on the Flames as a potential Stanley Cup winner, before those odds jump too much.
Lindholm is getting that recognition now, too, with a nod on Monday from the NHL as last week’s first star – for obvious reasons.
“If there’s a guy that’s gonna get us the game-winner there, he’s the guy I’d bet on,” Lindholm’s linemate Johnny Gaudreau said of the winner. “It was a big goal for us.”
Gaudreau did much of the work on the play. Creating space and hanging onto the puck, he sailed it into the slot with Lindholm driving in for the tip – which went off the bar and in.
Lindholm had a goal called back for an offside earlier in the game. He made up for it, though, and his celebrations suggest that he’s expecting the goals to keep coming.
“When you’re feeling it, you feel like you have a chance on every shot,” Lindholm said, shrugging off his NHL honour.
“I just try to play the same game over and over again. It’s nice to get noticed but, to be out there, play with two pretty good players, a lot to thank them for.”