Calgary Flames keep winning thanks to new forward lines

Sean Monahan #23 of the Calgary Flames (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
Sean Monahan #23 of the Calgary Flames (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Thanks to a shakeup in their lineup, the Calgary Flames are back to their winning ways.

It has been a season of highs and lows for the Calgary Flames. After a disastrous month of almost all of November that included scoring issues, a six-game losing skid, inconsistency, and the firing of head coach Bill Peters. Now, having won three straight, and earning points in four of their last five games, the Flames appear to be back on track.

The Flames currently sit tied for fourth in the Pacific Division with the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks at 32 points apiece with plenty of work to be done still. But it appears Flames interim head coach Geoff Ward has found the key to his team scoring again. Last game against the Buffalo Sabres, Ward toyed with all four of his offensive lines, and boy, did it ever pay off.

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Ward’s first line featured Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, and Andrew Mangiapane, followed by Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, and Dillon Dube.

The third line was one I think few Flames fans thought they’d see, as the big man Milan Lucic played with the two little guys, Johnny Gaudreau and Derek Ryan. Last but not least, Tobias Rieder played on the fourth line for his 400th NHL game alongside Mark Jankowski and Michael Frolik.

Gaudreau snapped a 10 game goalless drought, Rieder found the back of the net on a shorthanded breakaway, and Monahan had a goal and an assist for his first multi-point game since November 7th.

Oh, wait, there was one more goal scorer on the Flames last night. Lucic buried his first goal as a Flame too, and the Saddledome erupted. It was a night that was long overdue for these players.

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Some times all it takes is a shakeup or a stretch of bad games as a form of a wake-up call. That rough patch in November looks to not only have been a learning curve for this young group, but it also appears to be in their rearview mirror, too. Ward will likely go with similar lines again on Saturday vs the visiting Los Angeles Kings, as the Flames look to improve to 4-0 under Geoff Ward.