CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames' fortunes look brighter than they did a month ago.
A 7-3-3 January bumped the club from 14th to 12th in the NHL's Western Conference, but more importantly just two points out of a playoff berth. Only six points separates fourth from 12th in the conference heading into the all-star break.
The Flames (24-21-6) feel good about their game and the fact they're in the post-season race.
They're also one of the oldest teams in the NHL needing to win nearly 70 per cent of their remaining 31 games, and that's if 95 points is the magic number for a playoff berth.
"It does feel good to be able to catch a couple of teams and be more in the mix, but it's still a ton of work ahead of us," captain Jarome Iginla cautioned.
Depending on who is in the lineup on a given night, Calgary's average age hovers around 30, which is second only to the Detroit Red Wings.
Questions over how much they have in the tank will continue, but it was possibly the Flames' collective experience that kept them from panicking last month, when they looked like an old, slow and expensive team going nowhere.
They were second-last in the conference and eight points out of the playoffs when the team announced Dec. 28 that GM Darryl Sutter was asked to resign and he had complied.
Head coach Brent Sutter, Darryl's brother, set the goal of winning two of every three games starting Dec. 23 in Dallas.
Calgary is well ahead of that pace with an 10-3-3 record since then. Their current four-game winning streak includes victories over Vancouver, Dallas and Nashville, ranked first, third and fourth in the West respectively.
The Flames need to keep that momentum going through their outdoor game at McMahon Stadium on Feb. 20, when they host the Montreal Canadiens in the Heritage Classic.
Calgary's position is still precarious. The conference is so tight a pair of losses sends them tumbling back down the standings.
"Things can change overnight," Brent Sutter said. "When you're not playing, other teams are. You've just got to continue to worry about your own business."