One word to best describe the Calgary Flames 2014/15 season is miraculous. Having finished 27th the previous year and no significant roster changes besides for Johnny Gaudreau and Jonas Hiller, the Flames managed to secure a playoff berth with one game to spare.
One of the main talking points of the season was the Flames inability to have the puck on their sticks more than the opposition. Despite this the Flames finished 7th in GF in the season with 240. The Flames were also able to overturn 3rd period deficits multiple times over the course of the season. The Flames just scraped into the playoffs finishing 3rd in the Pacific Division, 8th in the Western Conference and 16th in the NHL.
One of the biggest contributor to the Flames remarkable offensive numbers was the top line which was comprised of Jiri Hudler, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. Hudler, who hit career highs in goals, assists and points, finishing 8th overall in points with 76. Hudler also win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Monahan had the fewest amount of points among the 3 but he played a two way game which the other two do not. Gaudreau finished tied with Mark Stone for points as a rookie with 64 points and finished 3rd in the Calder Trophy voting. This line was criticised during the playoffs but contributed a lot of the 1st round comeback in game 6 against the Vancouver Canucks. They contributed a total of 10 points to lead a comeback after going 3-0 down.
The Flames not only had a James Norris Trophy candidate but also a Hart Memorial Trophy candidate as well. This was captain Mark Giordano, who unfortunately tore his biceps muscle in early February which ended his season. The Flames were devastated by this loss but defenceman T.J Brodie, Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell stepped up. Brodie was already playing well alongside Giordano prior to his injury. Russell and Wideman played as the number one pairing for the rest of the season. Russell finished first in blocked shots with 283. Wideman lead al Flames defenceman in points with 56 which beat his previous best of 46 in 2011-12 with the Washington Capitals.
Three players who really impressed on the Flames roster this season were Sam Bennett, Lance Bouma and Michael Ferland. Bennett was sidelined for majority of the season due to a shoulder injury but featured in 1 regular season game and 11 playoff games he still managed to show what he can do. He got four points in playoffs, three coming in the series against Vancouver and one against Anaheim. Lance Bouma broke out last season setting career highs in goals, assists and points, shots and shooting percentages. Along with this he also provided a big body presence which intimidated opponents. Unfortunately for him and Calgary he was injured late in the season and only featured in three playoff games against Anaheim. Ferland made his NHL debut against the Nashville Predators . He has overcome many different problems in his career like a assault charge which he was acquitted and struggled with alcoholism. Two days after celebrating sobriety he scored his first NHL goal against the Predators. His physical play helped him become a fan favourite among Flames fans.
The Flames made the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and won their first playoff series since their trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004. The Flames played their rivals Vancouver Canucks in the first round. The Flames overturned a 1-0 deficit in the third round capped off by a Kris Russell game winning goal thirty seconds from the end of the third. Bennett got his first playoff point on the goal. Game 2 went to the Canucks with a 4-1 scoreline. Games 3 and 4 went to the Flames with Bennett getting a goal in both games. The Flames could not end the series in game 5 losing 2-1. After going 3-0 down in game 6 in the space of ten minutes, Ferland got his first career playoff goal three minutes from the end of the first to make the score 3-1 at the end of the first. Monahan and Gaudreau scored to tie the game but Vancouver took the lead going into the third with a goal from Luca Sbisa. The Flames scored four goals in the third, with two being empty netter. Hudler scored two, Stajan one and Ferland got his second of the game to make the score 7-4.
The series against the Ducks did not go nearly as well as the first round. The Flames dropped games one and two by a combined score of 9-1. The Flames managed to win Game 3 in OT. Gaudreau scored the game tying goal with twenty seconds to go in the third. Mikael Backlund scored the OT winner for his first playoff goal. This would be the Flames final win of the season with Corey Perry ending the series in OT of game 5.