The Calgary held first place in the Pacific Division for the entirety of December, and ascended their way atop the entire NHL. Thanks to spectacular play from their top players, they find themselves having one of their first halves in franchise history.

The Flames were scheduled for 14 games in December and out of 42 possible star selections, the Flames were selected 26 times. In a month that saw them go 9-3-2, their best players based on star selections were Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, and David Rittich; each being selected seven, five, three, and three times, respectively.

Game 27: Flames @ Blackhawks

First Star Derek Ryan 1 G / 0 A / 3 SOG
Second Star Sean Monahan 1 G / 1 A / 5 SOG
Third Star Jonathan Toews 1 G / 0 A / 1 SOG

Game 28: Flames @ Blue Jackets

First Star Johnny Gaudreau 2 G / 2 A / 4 SOG
Second Star Cam Atkinson 3 G / 0 A / 5 SOG
Third Star Sean Monahan 2 G / 2 A / 2 SOG

Game 29: Flames vs. Wild

First Star Mike Smith 31 SA / 1.000 SV%
Second Star Elias Lindholm 2 G / 0 A / 3 SOG
Third Star Johnny Gaudreau 0 G / 2 A / 1 SOG

Game 30: Flames vs Predators

First Star Oliver Kylington 1 G / 1 A / 2 SOG
Second Star Sean Monahan 1 G / 1 A / 4 SOG
Third Star Alan Quine 1 G / 0 A / 1 SOG

Game 31: Flames @ Oilers

First Star Mikko Koskinen 24 SA / 1.000 SV%
Second Star Connor McDavid 1 G / 0 A / 5 SOG
Third Star David Rittich 30 SA / 0.967 SV%

Game 32: Flames vs. Flyers

First Star Sean Monahan 2 G / 1 A / 8 SOG
Second Star Sean Couturier 2 G / 1 A / 5 SOG
Third Star Matthew Tkachuk 0 G / 4 A / 7 SOG

Game 33: Flames @ Wild

First Star David Rittich 35 SA / 0.971 SV%
Second Star Jordan Greenway 1 G / 0 A / 1 SOG
Third Star Jonas Brodin 0 G / 0 A / 1 SOG

Game 34: Flames @ Blues

First Star Johnny Gaudreau 2 G / 1 A / 5 SOG
Second Star Matthew Tkachuk 1 G / 1 A / 6 SOG
Third Star Mark Giordano 1 G / 1 A / 3 SOG

Game 35: Flames @ Stars

First Star Ben Bishop 21 SA / 1.000 SV%
Second Star Radek Faksa 1 G / 0 A / 1 SOG
Third Star Esa Lindell 0 G / 0 A / 6 SOG

Game 36: Flames vs. Lightning

First Star Johnny Gaudreau 1 G / 1 A / 6 SOG
Second Star Nikita Kucherov 0 G / 2 A / 4 SOG
Third Star Sam Bennett 1 G / 1 A / 3 SOG

Game 37: Flames vs. Blues

First Star David Perron 1 G / 1 A / 2 SOG
Second Star Jake Allen 29 SA / 0.966 SV%
Third Star Johnny Gaudreau 0 G / 1 A / 4 SOG

Game 38: Flames @ Jets

First Star David Rittich 36 SA / 0.972 SV%
Second Star Johnny Gaudreau 3 G / 0 A / 4 SOG
Third Star Adam Lowry 1 G / 0 A / 3 SOG

Game 39: Flames vs. Canucks

First Star Jacob Markstrom 33 SA / 0.939 SV%
Second Star Mark Jankowski 1 G / 1 A / 4 SOG
Third Star Elias Pettersson 1 G / 0 A / 3 SOG

Game 40: Flames vs. Sharks

First Star Johnny Gaudreau 2 G / 2 A / 3 SOG
Second Star Sean Monahan 0 G / 5 A / 3 SOG
Third Star Matthew Tkachuk 2 G / 2 A / 5 SOG

December 2018 went down in the history books as Gaudreau’s best month in his career. He scored at a torrid pace, putting up 26 points in 14 games. He was selected as first star an astounding five times and rightfully so. Only Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning had a better December in the entire league.

Monahan and Tkachuk were also stellar in their play (as they’ve been all season long). They were big reasons as to why the Flames did as well as they did. Monahan totalled 21 points in December (T-4th in the league) while Tkachuk had 17 (T-19th).

Lastly, now the definitive starter for the Calgary Flames, Rittich was highly dependable and gave the Flames chances to win all month long. Playing 10 games in December, he posted a 5-2-2 record with a save percentage of .915%. In the three times he was selected as star, his save percentage was a .970%. There’s little doubt in any one’s mind that he’s found his game and will back stop the Flames as their starter for the rest of the season.

Of course, other Flames had standout performances in December too, but every other player was only selected once. Most notably, Alan Quine was a third star once during his brief call-up to the NHL. Elias Lindholm, who was oft selected as a star in October and November, was surprisingly only selected once despite scoring 18 points.

There’s no telling how the Flames will do in 2019. Will Gaudreau continue his scoring ways? Will Rittich be reliable as his workload grows? Which other players step up and play large enough roles to be selected as stars? Only time will tell, but the stars have aligned for the Flames’ top players and they’re definitely making their presence known in the league.

Related: October | November

 

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