For one, it seems rookie sensation Sean Monahan is going to score every game so that's a positive for this supposedly rebuilding hockey club.
(My story for The Canadian Press on Friday night, focused on Monahan's dream start and the Flames unprecedented start.)
Secondly, the Flames are blocking a lot of shots and by a lot of shots, I mean a lot of shots. Calgary players have successfully dropped in front of 92 shots through five games. Going into Saturday's games, that ranks the Flames No. 1 in the NHL in that badge-of-honour category which embodies courage, determination, heart, commitment -- and requires a whole bunch of post-game ice bags.
The Philadelphia Flyers are second (86) and the Toronto Maple Leafs are third (79).
The third pattern, very much a by-product of the first two, is this team has yet to lose in regulation through its first five games. Such a feat has only happened once before and that was 25 years ago in 1988-89, which just happens to be the only season the Flames have won the Stanley Cup.
"When you watch your team-mates lying in front of pucks, slapshots, one-timers, and then they generate a scoring chance for themselves because of it. It's a great feeling," said Flames captain Mark Giordano, "It's a great feeling to know that the guys are really buying in and doing whatever it takes to win."
Giordano was alluding in particular to a furious display of shot blocking by the Flames during a frantic sequence midway through the third period in which with the scored tied 2-2, New Jersey had the Flames hemmed in for a minute-and-a-half and poured on the pressure but couldn't get any shots through on goaltender Joey MacDonald.
Down the hall in the Devils dressing room, a dejected Jaromir Jagr pointed to that sequence as a key moment
"We had it for a minute and a half but they were able to block everything," said Jagr, who along with linemates Danius Zubrus and Patrik Elias were on the ice for the Devils for the barrage.
Despite the frustration you could see in his eyes and hear in his voice, Jagr still managed to mix in some humour as he reflected on the chances that got away in that one frenzied scramble.
"They're smart, huh. They're tired so they laid down," Jagr said. "Everybody does it, so do you. When you're tired, you go sleep. They went down but we couldn't lift the puck up. We had so many chances."
Related Flames Reading
- 12 Key Factors if the Flames Are to Contend for a Playoff Spot - They're not expected to be very good but the Calgary Flames weren't supposed to be very good in 2003-04 either and they nearly won the Stanley Cup. My pre-season look at 12 things that (mostly) need to happen for Calgary to be in the playoff chase this season.