They were dressed for success.
Heading into Saturday’s meeting with the Minnesota Wild, the Calgary Flames had rattled off four straight victories at the Saddledome.
They had, however, lost eight in a row when wearing their third jerseys and were scheduled to don the new togs once again for this Hockey Night in Canada contest.
Then came a change of plans.
After head coach Bob Hartley consulted the higher-ups, the Flames hit the ice in their usual home silks and extended their winning streak to five straight, with surging centre Mikael Backlund whacking a rebound out of mid-air in extra-time for a 4-3 OT triumph at the Saddledome.
“(Friday), I talked to Brian (Burke), and I said, ‘We’re playing so well right now. Can we just keep going?’ ” Hartley said, admitting he wanted to leave the third jerseys in the equipment room.
“Brian said, ‘Let me check,’ and he got back to me and said, ‘Yeah, I can help you that way.’
“Little superstitions — sometimes, they work, and sometimes, they don’t.”
Everything seems to be working right now for the Flames.
In fact, if there was ever a night to end a slump, this seemed to be it.
Hometown product TJ Galiardi snapped a lengthy skid with his first-period strike, ending a 37-game goal-scoring drought.
Defenceman Dennis Wideman snapped out of a 14-game scoring skid of his own with a deflection in the middle period.
And Backlund, who’s been the opposite of slumping, banged in Sean Monahan’s rebound for his second of the night in overtime.
The 24-year-old centre, who also scored a shorthanded goal early in the third period of Saturday’s clash, now has four straight two-point games.
“Obviously, I’m excited about it. I feel good about it. I’m happy I can help the team win games and chip in,” Backlund said. “There’s been a lot of doubt in this city about me, and it’s nice to finally be able to get those goals that people wanted me to get for a lot of years.”
You only have to go back a couple of weeks to remember a time when folks wondered if the Flames would ever win on home ice again.
From Dec. 27 to Jan. 16, Hartley’s crew set a franchise record — and not a positive one — with seven straight losses at the Saddledome.
That’s ancient history now, after going a perfect five-for-five on their final homestand before the Olympic break.
Calgary-raised left-winger Dany Heatley had a goal and an assist for the Wild, while pest Matt Cooke and blueliner Keith Ballard also scored for the out-of-towners, who erased a two-goal deficit in the final frame but couldn’t complete the comeback in OT.
Flames netminder Reto Berra, who got the cold-call after starter Karri Ramo exited with a lower-body injury late in the first period of Saturday’s showdown, stopped 14-of-17 attempts and has now earned his first seven ‘W’s of his NHL career in overtime or shootout situations.
Galiardi had a two-point night.
Ditto for defenceman Chris Butler and captain Mark Giordano, who extended his personal point-spree to nine games.
“I just think we’ve got everyone going right now — there’s no passengers,” Galiardi said. “Even when we make mistakes, guys stick up for each other.
“Earlier in the year, when we’d get scored on, you could see the negativity a little. I think we’re just growing as a group and learning.”
The Flames welcomed back left-winger Michael Cammalleri, who had missed nine contests due to a concussion, but it wasn’t all good news on the injury front.
They were dressed for success.