Flames aim for 4th straight home win vs. Canucks
CALGARY, Alberta -- It appears that the Calgary Flames found the perfect linemate for Johnny and Mony.
Micheal Ferland won the coveted spot as the left winger on the first line, providing muscle and skill alongside the team's stars, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
The tough third-year Manitoban provides protection but also can keep up with his linemates and finish when he is on the receiving end of a pass.
On Sunday, Ferland finished off a three-way passing play involving the other two, then added an assist on Monahan's goal. The trio had two points apiece, and the Flames won 5-4 in a shootout over the New Jersey Devils.
The next challenge for Calgary (8-6-0) is the surprising Vancouver Canucks (7-5-2), who visit the Saddledome on Tuesday after losing 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.
A Flames team that was struggling to score finally got some offense Sunday, and Ferland was front and center.
"He looks comfortable," Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said. "I thought he'd been really good the last three to four games, but now the offense is starting to come, and confidence is a big thing in this league, no matter how many years you've been in it, so that's a good sign for us."
Ferland has four goals and two assists through 14 games. Gaudreau leads the Flames with 18 points, and Monahan is next at 13.
Having someone who can fit in with them is paramount to the Flames' fortunes.
"I think playing with Johnny and Mony, I try to be around the net a lot," Ferland said after the Sunday win. "They're both skilled guys. I think we're just getting some good bounces, and it feels good to be rewarded."
On Tuesday, Calgary will look for its fourth consecutive home win. The Canucks are 4-1-0 on the road, and the Flames are 4-4-0 at home.
The Canucks flew into Calgary in the wee hours of Tuesday morning after a frustrating finish against Detroit. Vancouver scored twice within a span of 2:14 in the third period to tie the contest but surrendered Tomas Tatar's goal with 1:14 remaining.
"This is behind us," Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton said. "We'll come back tomorrow with a better mindset. Quick turnaround, and we need to start the road hot."
Despite the loss, the Canucks remain one of the big surprises in the early going.
The big individual story is the emergence of American rookie Brock Boeser. The 2015 first-round pick out of the University of North Dakota joined the Canucks at the tail end of 2016-17 and scored four goals in nine games as a warmup to his first complete NHL season.
Boeser was held off the scoresheet against Detroit, but he recorded his first career hat trick Saturday in a win over Pittsburgh, giving him five goals. He has 13 points in 12 games, good for the team scoring lead.
Boeser tried to downplay his personal glory in a recent interview with Sportsnet.
"I try and take every day one day at a time and focus on each and every day for our team," he said. "I'm not worried about personal stats; I'm worried about how our team plays. We've got a really good group, and I think the way we play is really successful.
"We just have to keep it up."
Updated November 7, 2017