Consistent hockey is something that eludes the Calgary Flames. Consistency is what separates good teams from the ones who don’t make the playoffs. The team is currently hovering around the .500 mark, not good enough for all concerned. After lacklustre efforts at home versus Philly and Edmonton, they took to the road to face stiff competition in the Leafs and Canadiens.
Here’s how the trip panned out.
- In Toronto they had a chance to exact revenge and largely dominated play. They took a point and walked away with a SO loss. They also lost Tkachuk who’s boneheaded spear netted him a one game suspension.
- With Tkachuk out it meant the Bouwerplay would expand to the 2nd line and all the calamity that comes with it. He was useless again.
- A depleted lineup in Montreal saw Tkachuk and Jagr out. The Flames, apart from Jagr, have been relatively unscathed by injuries this season. What we did see was Hathaway’s first of the year, a game tying goal in the third. A greasy goal but more of what the team needs. That’s particularly important because I believe Hathaway has played well enough to unseat Hamilton as the spare part.
- The top line woke up and Sean MOnahan quietly went to work in Montreal. He tallied the opener and the game-winner in OT to expand his lead as the Flames’ leading OT goal getter.
- David Rittich in net. He collects his second win in as many starts. He looked shaky at times, but there’s some confidence with him back there.
- Rittich wasn’t that busy because of the D. Something has happened, be it a talking to or some subtle shifts. Management as we know is getting tired of the stats from the 2nd pair. Hamonic and Brodie have responded with two solid outings. D first and we have a chance every night.
- Secondary scoring is showing up, which is great, but now it’s more about consistency.
Divisional game on the weekend with Vancouver coming to town. Let’s see if the Flames can continue their play and improve, or if they’ll take two steps back again.
Note: The 2nd intermission had a curious Sportsnet note on the now arena talks for the Flames. You know the billionaire owners are going to leverage the new interest in NHL franchises in the US. Murray Edwards is doing just that, claiming there are no talks for an arena, pitting that on the City. We know that’s not true, and Edwards will do all he can do sway public opinion so he can collect billions in tax money for his new arena. Not going to happen.