4. The Calgary Flames versus the Pittsburgh Penguins
The fourth best game from the Gaudreau-era comes in 2016-17. That season saw the Flames take a long time to get warmed up. The team started 5-10-1, and by the mid-point of the season, it looked like they were in real danger of missing the playoffs. In January, the team lost four straight games, and after a shellacking in Montreal, the team took the train to their next game in Ottawa. The train ride seemed to lift everyone’s spirit as they beat the Senators and gained some mojo.
Starting on Feb. 21, the team proceeded to defeat Nashville, Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina, Los Angeles, Detroit, and the New York Islanders to reach eight consecutive victories. This was noteworthy, as it matched the longest winning streak since the Flames moved to Calgary.
The team’s record of 10 straight wins was set in Atlanta, which occurred during the 1978-79 season. They still had two more tries to reach that record. After shutting out the Winnipeg Jets on the road for win number nine, it set the stage for the tying game at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 13.
The game was a back and forth affair, when in the third period, none other than Johnny Hockey scored the go-ahead goal on the powerplay to give Calgary a 3-2 lead. However, with 4:29 left in the game, Sidney Crosby got past Brian Elliott to tie the game and send it to overtime. The extra period settled nothing, forcing a shootout. Elliott stopped all shots, as Kris Versteeg got past Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Flames their vaunted 10 game winning streak, the longest such since the team moved to Calgary.
Elliott played in all but one of the games in the streak, with Chad Johnson backstopping the Flames’ victory in Florida. The team split all the victories evenly between home and road games and outscored opponents 55-23.
The streak promptly ended for the Flames at the next home game against the Boston Bruins, but it salvaged their season, and the team was able to qualify for the playoffs, where they were swept in the first round by the Ducks.
3. The Calgary Flames versus the Edmonton Oilers
The third best game of the Gaudreau-era happened last season, a January 11 matchup between the Flames and Oilers. This game is noteworthy as it brought back the Battle of Alberta to levels of vitriol not seen since the 1980s. While Flames-Oilers games always are intense, with the two teams showing their lack of appreciation for one another, this game was different.
The Flames and Oilers met for the first time a couple of weeks earlier in Edmonton, with the Flames dominating their way to a decisive 5-1 victory. The rematch would be at the Scotiabank Saddledome and would see the matchup of Matthew Tkachuk and Zack Kassian take over the game.
Tkachuk made three large hits on Kassian, who took a major exception with the Flames winger for not fighting him. Kassian ragdolled Tkachuk with two minutes to go in the second period, and the game tied 3-3. Tkachuk’s plan worked perfectly as the Flames received a powerplay from Kassian’s double minor and a 10-minute misconduct. Elias Lindholm scored on that powerplay early in the third to give the Flames the lead and ultimately the victory. The Flames moved ahead of the Oilers in the Pacific Division standings based on the win.
Kassian let his frustration show after the game, “He’s just a young punk,” when the Oilers forward was asked about Tkachuk.
Tkachuk nonchalantly described the situation. “If he doesn’t want to get hit, then stay off the tracks,” adding, “If he wants to react like that, we’ll take the power play, we’ll take the game-winner, and we’ll move on in first place.”
The two teams would meet two more times following this affair, with the Flames winning once again in Edmonton and the Oilers’ last matchup in Calgary. With this much hatred produced and 10 games between these two in 2020-21, more shenanigans should be expected.