When the Flames acquired Mike Cammalleri on Jan.12 it was to enhance their chances of making the playoffs now and be a key leader beyond.
You could debate that when he went to the sidelines on March 4 with an upper body injury his absence a key reason why the Flames are looking up in their late season quest to make the post-season.
What can’t be debated is Cammalleri’s impact since his return to the line-up last Saturday in Dallas.
He scored the lone Flame goal in that 4-1 setback on Saturday. Then on Monday had a goal plus 2 assists sparking the Flames 5-4 home victory over the Stars.
The Flames won the first 5 games they played without Cammalleri, but then lost 4-straight a trio of them by one goal including 2 losses in shootouts. He could have been the difficult in a couple of those contests.
Playing centre on a line with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay, Cammalleri, normally a leftwinger, took command in the 2nd period when he scored the goal, which gave the Flames their first lead of the game, and then setup the team’s 4th and 5th tallies.
Two key elements also helped provide the badly needed triumph.
The Flames resilience rarely seen in recent games as they surrended goals in the first minute of both the first and second periods allowing Dallas to take one-goal leads generally deflating developments. However, both times the Flames got those goals back.
The powerplay, which been in a slump, generated 3 goals. Just the second time all season they’ve scored a trio in the same game.
Ollie Jokinen registered the Flames first goal, ending a 7-game slump. Alex Tanguay scored the GWG with his first tally in 5 games. Captain Jarome Iginla ended his 5-game pointless streak with a pair of assists. Blake Comeau and Mark Giordano also pulled the trigger.
In ending the 5-game losing streak, the Flames moved to within 2 points of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 5 games remaining.
The quest continues on Wednesday when Los Angeles visits the Scotiabank Saddledome against a Kings team now coached by Darryl Sutter, the GM who let Cammalleri get away after his 39-goal campaign here in 2008-09.