Calgary Flames coach Brent Sutter has never been easy to please, but a season high-tying four-game win streak might be enough to put a smile on his face.
The Flames look to continue their resurgence by beating the last-place Toronto Maple Leafs at Pengrowth Saddledome for the fifth straight time Saturday night.
Following a 5-1 home loss to Vancouver last Sunday that dropped the Flames into a 1-3-2 skid, Sutter kept the team’s dressing room closed for an extended time.
“I have a few concerns that are certainly very noticeable and you can’t hide it,” Sutter said after Calgary’s third straight home defeat. “It’s got absolutely nothing to do with systems, absolutely nothing. It’s other things that we have to deal with and we’re going to. Whether it’s liked or not, it’s going to be dealt with.”
Whatever message Sutter hoped to get across appears to have worked. The Flames (23-12-5) have won three straight by a combined 8-3 score.
“The last three games we’ve done a lot of things better and yet it’s something we can’t drop our guard with,” Sutter said. “We’ve got to make sure we stay with it.”
“It’s a good feeling right now, and to be able to string three wins together here feels great,” said McElhinney.
Conroy has two goals in two games after going without one in his first 36 contests this season.
“You get that first one and then, you know, good things happen,” Conroy said. “It definitely helps your confidence to get one and then all of a sudden you just feel like the weight of the world is off your shoulders.”
Conroy’s production has been a big help with captain Jarome Iginla(notes) failing to record a point in a season-high three straight games. Iginla - the team leader with 20 goals and 38 points - hasn’t had a four-game pointless stretch since Nov. 29-Dec. 6, 2005.
Iginla scored twice in Calgary’s 5-2 victory at Toronto on Nov. 14, and has four goals and five assists in his last four games against the Maple Leafs.
The Flames have won four in a row at home against Toronto since a 4-3 loss Dec. 27, 2002.
Calgary will be the final stop on a three-game trip for the Maple Leafs (14-18-9), who opened with a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh before falling 3-1 at Edmonton on Wednesday.
Toronto, which has lost four of five (1-2-2), reached the halfway mark of the season with 37 points. At that pace, the Leafs would finish with 74, their lowest total since 1997-98.
“Since my time here, we’ve been a really up-and-down hockey team,” defenseman Ian White(notes) told the Flames’ official Web site. “Maybe the times when we are really good, we play a good couple of games in a row and we let our guard down against a team that’s not as high in the standings and they seem to take it to us.”
Phil Kessel(notes) - named to the U.S. Olympic team Friday along with teammate Mike Komisarek(notes) - scored his 14th goal in Wednesday’s loss, ending his season-high six-game drought without a point.