Given the season's drama around the Calgary Flames, it should come as no surprise to be in the middle of a wildcard race.
The dramatic departure of coach Bill Peters, the collapse of T.J. Brodie, the season-threatening training injury of star prospect Juuso Valimaki and the first half of Johnny Gaudreau and the flames attack made life in Cowtown interesting.
Otherwise everything went according to plan.
If there is a category, the Flames lead the league in the hours of sleep that the GM has lost.
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Dramatic fluctuations have become the norm for the Flames. At the end of November, five losses followed under Peters and seven victories under interim chief Geoff Ward.
After expectations got to the top of the west in last year's regular season, they were much higher than a mid-season fight to stay above .500.
But last but not least, it is intended for viewing appointments, since the fans tune in to see the next turn of the story.
Team record: 22-17-5 (8th in Western Conference)
Goals for: 123 (22nd in the NHL)
Goals against: 134 (17th in the NHL)
Power game: 19.1% percent (18th in NHL)
Penalty: 82.3% percent (7th in the NHL)
Biggest surprise (outside of the Bill Peters drama): David Rittich
Few in Calgary are shocked that he is able to assert himself as a starter, but no one would have thought that the popular Czech character in the starts (33) and victories (18) would be among the leaders.
The big debate is now about how he should approach his load management.
The plan for the season was to play the hot hand between Rittich and Cam Talbot, being careful not to play more than 50 games.
Rittich is well on the way to smashing this glass ceiling, which says a lot about how reliable he was.
Until the last handful of starts, he was the undisputed MVP of the team in the first half of the season, who kept the Flames with the suddenly low scores in all types of games that they would otherwise have lost.
With his 53rd career win at his 100th NHL start on Sunday, Rittich is now the sixth-winning goalkeeper in the history of Flames. Doing this in just three seasons shows how surprisingly effective he was and how bad the goalkeeper situations in Calgary have been outside of Mikka Kiprusoff and Mike Vernon for the past 40 years.
He has emphatically demonstrated that he is an NHL starter.
His next hurdle is to prove that he can do a whole year without the slump that he experienced as an NHL substitute in the first two seasons.
There are worrying signs that it has been regressing recently, but the sample size is still too small to indicate that it is going downhill.
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Biggest disappointment: Johnny Gaudreau
A year after finishing seventh overall with Nathan MacKinnon with 99 points, Gaudreau hit the half-time mark with half the points he had accumulated at that time last year (59 points versus 30).
His game was robbed of the dynamic, explosive offensive raids that peppered his game on a nightly basis.
And nobody can explain exactly why this is the case, although the teams have certainly succeeded in restricting time and space when entering the offensive zone.
The 26-year-old winger has scored 36 goals in his career and is still at eleven in a duo with Sean Monahan, who has demonstrated relatively little evidence of the chemistry they have built together over the past four years.
Under Ward, Gaudreau's ice age was shortened by more than two and a half minutes a night due to the depth of the team and Gaudreau's ineffectiveness.
With 11 goals and 35 points, he is second in the team ranking behind Matthew Tkachuk, and his minus 11 has him as one of six flames in the red double-digit range.
A year after only Tampa Bay was left behind in the goals scored, the Flames are now 22nd
Only a month earlier, the last time they sat dead, which means that they found the network a little later.
Unacceptable for a group that is as talented and deep as the flames.
A year after Gaudreau, Monahan and Elias Lindholm dominated like no other trio, they were split up to try to attack the team.
Here's everything you need to know about the team's goal scoring struggles when it is generally accepted that the most effective team in the past six weeks has been a third unit from Derek Ryan, Milan Lucic and Dillon Dube.
Mark Giordano is still the team's best defender at 36. However, he is a far cry from the beast he saw with the Norris Trophy last season.
His goal on Sunday was his first goal in 26 games in a team that could use more help from front to back.
They are a defensively healthy group that has helped Rittich to shine.
Although Noah Hanifin is a worst minus 16 team, he has made progress by using his pace and skill to jump up more often and score goals.
Rittich gave his team the chance to win almost every time.
Despite the awards that Rittich missed, Cam Talbot has a slightly better save percentage (.913 vs. .911) and GAA (2.75 vs. 2.81).
Talbot's tough jobs played a big part in his 4-7 record, as his team had averaged just 1.9 goals per game in their first 10 starts.
Expect Talbot to see a lot more in the second half as he has won the trust of his teammates and management.
Managing Rittich's minutes will be an act due to its history of subpar second halves.
Grade: B +
Interim coach Geoff Ward came under terrible circumstances and, with seven wins in a row, led to an unlikely change of season.
Overall, Ward has an 11-5-1 record with a team that is somehow sitting on a wildcard spot.
His style is very different from that of his predecessor Bill Peters, who takes a very open, empowering approach to the players.
You responded well and maybe saved a season that was destined to be a disaster given the team's slow start and the dark cloud that Peters’s exit cast over the club.
It is only a matter of time before the provisional day is canceled.