With the season of giving upon us, it is without a doubt that Johnny Gaudreau has bought into the spirit of the season. Over a crucial homestand, Gaudreau gave fans a lot to cheer about as he led the Flames to a five game sweep. The Flames have now won nine straight games on home ice and for the first time this season have consistently looked like the playoff team from last season. Over the last five games the defensive lapses, inconsistent goaltending, and lack of timely scoring that have plagued the Flames for much of the season did not sink the team over the course of this homestand. When the bad goals, penalties, or defensive lapses reared their ugly heads the Flames consistently showed the resolve and push-back that fans were so used to seeing last season. As a result, each game over the homestand and the extended nine game home ice winning streak has been close with fans being able to enjoy plenty of overtime, shootouts, and last second goals.
Indeed, the team as a whole deserves the appropriate accolades for what they have accomplished in this recent string games. However, some individuals should be applauded for their efforts of this string of success: Karri Ramo has stabilized the goaltending, T.J. Brodie’s play seems to have supplanted Mark Giordano as the team’s defensive leader , and Dougie Hamilton is finally starting find the level of play that made him special in Boston. The biggest applause should go to Johnny Gaudreau as he may have single-handedly saved the Flames season. Over the course the five game homestand Gaudreau scored seven goals, two game winning goals, and finished with ten points. As it sits right now, Patrick Kane is only scorer that is hotter than Gaudreau. Last season was Gaudreau’s coming out party, this season can deemed as him providing notice to the hockey world that he is a superstar. Over the course of a season full on inconsistencies, Gaudreau has been the one consistent performer for the Flames. Superstars are models of consistency for their franchises and when teams need them most they come through. Indeed, Gaudreau is worth the price of admission as he showcased all of the characteristics of a superstar ever since he first suited up for the Flames.
So as the holidays get closer Flames fans should be smiling and giving thanks to the hockey gods for providing them Johnny Gaudreau and an awful Pacific Division to play in this season. If the Flames can build on their home ice success by turning around their dreadful road record, I do not see why they cannot achieve a second place finish in the division. With upcoming road games against the Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, and Detroit Red Wings the Flames have an opportunity to make a statement to the League that they are truly back in form.