LENDALE, Ariz. — The Calgary Flames are brimming with confidence right now.
Winning their fifth straight game and National Hockey League leading ninth road victory, the group strutted out of the Gila River Arena with a 2 1 overtime win over the slumping Arizona Coyotes who dropped their sixth straight.
And perhaps nothing said it all like their performance in the extra frame.
It took 1 09 for Dougie Hamilton to net the game winner, a thing of beauty as he slid around Brendan Perlini and went forehand to backhand around Mike Smith.
With a full tank of gas, the six foot six defender had hopped on the ice and made a beeline toward the net.
“I basically just jumped on and took a couple hard strides and there was the puck,” Hamilton said. “Johnny made a good play. I was hoping he’d make it and sucked a guy to him. I just tried to weave through the net and make a play.
“It happened really quick.”
So, seemingly, did this group’s turnaround.
Suddenly, they’re one of the hottest teams in the NHL. The Flames 15 13 2 return home for a three game stand at the Scotiabank Saddledome against Winnipeg Saturday , Tampa Wednesday and Columbus Friday .
“We’ve got traction now,” said Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan. “We’ve got to stay consistent. I’ve said this before, ‘You are what you repeatedly do.’ We have to continue night in and night out to play a certain way and it gives us a chance to get points.
“There’s no breathing Zbynek Michalek Jersey, by any stretch of the imagination. We dug ourselves a hole at the beginning of the season, we’re getting out of it now and we have to keep pushing.”
For the locals, it was likely a throwback to watch Matthew Tkachuk — the son of legendary Phoenix Coyotes captain Keith — bang, crash and make plays around the net.
But for Keith’s boy, the Calgary Flames and the Arizona Coyotes, it’s a new era. The 2016 17 NHL is not exactly the same as when his father played.
So, it’s almost fitting the game went old school and featured a pile of flying fists. Surprisingly, however, Tkachuk wasn’t involved directly.
Oh, he did his thing. With his mouthguard hanging out of his mouth his trademark look , he drew two penalties, made plays and had multiple scoring chances.
Twice, the 18 year old tried that are you kidding me how did he make that play between the legs shot on net.
But he left the fisticuffs up to his teammates, who fought three times.
“You don’t see that very much anymore,” said Flames forward Matt Stajan. “It’s a tight checking game. Guys are working for time and space and trying to finish their body checks. I know they’re frustrated over there but we didn’t back down. It was nice to see guys engage.”
Down 1 0 early on a Max Domi goal http://www.azcoyotesjersey.com/tyler-gaudet-jersey-c-4.html, the physical play started in the first period when Lance Bouma, playing his first game back after missing 16 with a shoulder injury, boarded Coyotes star defenceman Oliver Ekman Larsson around the eight minute mark.
Former Calgary Hitmen forward Ryan White came to his defence and started pummeling Bouma.
Shortly after, Connor Murphy stood up to Micheal Ferland — which immediately turned out in Ferland’s favour as the Flames winger ended up on top of Murphy.
Things died down and Calgary started putting on the pressure. Mark Giordano had a fantastic scoring chance which was stopped by Mike Smith, who stuck his right toe on the puck.
The Flames had 20 seconds of zone time when Smith got his stick jammed in the boards behind the net after trying to battle yes, battle Michael Frolik for the puck. They still couldn’t score.
Garnet Hathaway gave Domi a shove at the end of the second period and, being the spirited player he is, didn’t wait long to get revenge.
Calgary Flames right wing Garnet Hathaway 64 gets into a fight with Arizona Coyotes left wing Max Domi during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 http://www.azcoyotesjersey.com/tobias-rieder-jersey-c-7.html, in Glendale http://www.azcoyotesjersey.com/martin-hanzal-jersey-c-5.html, Ariz.
Calgary Flames right wing Garnet Hathaway 64 gets into a fight with Arizona Coyotes left wing Max Domi during the second period. Ross D. Franklin / AP
In one heckuva tilt, Hathaway bloodied Domi’s eye and he departed the game shortly after.
“You look at the fights we had tonight,” said Hathaway. “Boomy’s fight. He was buzzing around the night. A big hit like that, we’ll kill it off. Ferly had a great fight. We just kept rolling.
“Our D had a lot of contact tonight. We built off of it.”
Calgary’s, dare we say, red hot power play connected for the fourth straight game Giordano knotted the score 1 1 with 2 15 remaining on a one timer set up by Gaudreau. Sean Monahan extended his point streak to six games.
“When you’re feeling good and you have that confidence, you’re not pressing,” said Stajan. “You’re playing hard but you’re not cheating the game. We’re really getting timely goals and making the right decisions. We’re comfortable in these tight games and that’s big for us.”
Flames 2, Coyotes 1 OT
1. Coyotes G Mike Smith — Another busy night for the netminder who kept his club in it when the Flames started to press in the third period and forced overtime.
2. Flames D Mark Giordano — Blasted Calgary’s game tying goal on Arizona netminder Mike Smith.
3. Coyotes LW Max Domi — Played gritty and was rewarded for it. Engaged in a spirited tilt with Flames forward Garnet Hathaway.