Sports Brian Burke on how Mike Smith is behind the Flames’ success

17:38  29 november  2017
17:38  29 november  2017 Source:   Sportsnet

Gaudreau extends point streak to 10 as Flames beat Capitals

  Gaudreau extends point streak to 10 as Flames beat Capitals Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist to extend his career-best point streak to 10 games and the Calgary Flames beat the Washington Capitals 4-1 on Monday night. Gaudreau scored and assisted on Sean Monahan’s goal, one of two on the power play for Calgary, which has won four of its past five. Mikael Backlund and captain Mark Giordano also scored for the Flames, who got 29 saves from Mike Smith.Gaudreau, nicknamed "Johnny Hockey," has eight goals and 11 assists during his point streak. Led by the Carneys Point, New Jersey, native, the Flames are 7-3-0 in that time.

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The Calgary Flames are officially rolling, and there are several reasons why.

Johnny Gaudreau is dialed-in, the club’s defence is hitting its stride, and even the guys who aren’t scoring are still finding ways to contribute.

But according to Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke, it’s all tied to one guy: Mike Smith.

“Mike Smith has been terrific,” Burke said during an appearance on Prime Time Sports Tuesday evening.

“We think he’s an elite goaltender that played on poor teams and his statistics suffered accordingly.”

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He right, of course. Prior to joining Calgary via a trade in June, Smith played the bulk of his career in the desert behind a struggling Coyotes team. Now that he’s plying his trade behind a stable of strong defencemen—not to mention, in a hockey-crazed Canadian market that has struggled to find a true No. 1 netminder—he’s excelling in the spotlight.

NHL Quarter Mark Report: Flames falling short of lofty expectations

  NHL Quarter Mark Report: Flames falling short of lofty expectations This was not the start The Calgary Flames envisioned. They certainly expected to be above .500, but at 12-8 there’s a feeling this team is capable of so much more. Instead of being a defensive juggernaut leaning on the strength of their vaunted blue line, the Flames now routinely find themselves in high scoring shootouts.Their last seven games have seen an average of more than nine goals scored, which pleases fans but gives coaches fits. That said, it seems to be working for a team that has won seven of its last nine.THE GOOD: Mike Smith. Make that the The Great.

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Detroit’s Mike Green broke a scoreless tie late in the first period and Jimmy Howard finished with 32 saves. "I had a few chances that I just have to put in the net," Gustav Nyquist said. Brian Burke on how Mike Smith is behind the Flames ' success .

Smith has long been known for his ability to control the play by controlling the puck and that is already making an invaluable difference for the Flames.

“He gets behind the net and stops the puck and moves it and our D are not getting hit nearly as much or as hard or as often as they did a year ago,” Burke explained. “We’re down over 100 hits on our top four defencemen over this stretch of the season.”

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Through 20 games this year with Calgary, Smith has a .922 save percentage, 2.64 goals-against average, one shutout and, most importantly, the trust of his team.

“When you don’t trust your goaltender, the first thing you do is to stop taking offensive chances and your game suffers offensively and then you’re getting back—you’re saying, ‘We’re not giving up that shot,’ so I’m going to get back so then all of a sudden your offence disappears.” Burke said. “It corrodes your whole game. It corrodes your confidence, it corrodes your attack mentality, and there’s no question about it: If you think the guy’s going to stop the puck, you can take some chances you otherwise will not take.”

Andersen stops 47 shots as Maple Leafs edge Flames .
Frederik Andersen stopped 47 shots through regulation and overtime, and three more in the shootout as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat Calgary 2-1 on Wednesday for their second win over the Flames in eight days. William Nylander scored the winner in the fourth round of the shootout, deking to the backhand to beat Mike Smith.Morgan Rielly scored for the Maple Leafs (18-10-1), who also downed Calgary 4-1 on Nov. 28.Mark Giordano scored for the Flames (14-12-2), who have dropped three in a row.Smith stopped 28 shots in a losing cause.

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