Sean Monahan said he believes past disappointments will drive the Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.
“Right now, our team, I think the biggest thing is we’re hungry,” the Flames center said Saturday. “We’ve had chances in the playoffs before and we’ve been embarrassed and obviously been knocked out a few times. Right now, you look at our team and every guy’s bought in. Everybody wants it.”
Calgary will play either the St. Louis Blues or Dallas Stars in the Western Conference First Round. The Blues and Stars play a round-robin game at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the hub city for the West, on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBC, SN360, SN1, NHL.TV). The winner will be the No. 3 seed in the conference.
The Flames are the No. 6 seed after they defeated the Winnipeg Jets in four games in the best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifiers. It was Calgary’s first postseason series victory since 2015, when it defeated the Vancouver Canucks in the first round in six games. Prior to defeating the Jets, that was the Flames’ only series win since 2004, when they reached the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games.
Monahan has reached the playoffs in four of his seven NHL seasons. In his rookie season of 2014-15, the Flames reached the second round and lost to the Anaheim Ducks in five games. Calgary was eliminated in the first round last season and in 2017, and failed to qualify for the playoffs in 2016 and 2018.
The 25-year-old said it was particularly disappointing when the Flames were the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference last season but lost to the Colorado Avalanche in five games.
“For me personally, I’ve been with Calgary seven years now and we haven’t accomplished much,” Monahan said. “Like I said, we’re here to win. We’re trying to prove ourselves that we can be a competitive team in this league.
“As a hockey player, you’re competitive and you want to win. We’re here not just to show up, we’re here to try to win, and if you look at our team play, everybody’s bought into that same recipe.”
Monahan led the Flames with six points (two goals, four assists) against the Jets. He said the experience he and linemates Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm have gained will be an asset against the Blues or Stars.
“We’re ready for sure,” said Monahan, who has scored at least 20 goals in each of his seven NHL seasons. “We just went through a pretty intense series. We know what’s coming. I mean, it’s playoffs. Whoever we’re playing against is going to be ready too.
“As a group, we’ve got to step up, and whoever we’re playing here in Game 1, it’s going to be an important one.”