As the Western Division continues to remain jammed with teams jokeying for playoff position, the Calgary Flames continue their own struggles finding consistency in their game.
In the past week the team has gone 1-2-1 suffering defeats when their game has inexplicably run out of goals. Then versus Vancouver last night, 6 goals. If the Flames want to make waves in before the New Year, they need to find consistency by stringing together multiple wins. Here’s how.
- Special teams have been bad, really bad. Although the PK has found some ground, the PP is abysmal. With the loss of Versteeg, the top PP unit can’t find the back of the net. Sure, Ferland had a PP marker that really didn’t mean much last night. Apart from that goal, the PP has come up dry at critical junctures. 5v3 PP is brutal to watch. The main reason is pucks to the net. Brodie anchoring the PP means little when he’s skating around the perimeter. Quick puck movement with shots on goal in close will increase the likelihood of PP goals. We get long bombs from the boards at best. The team can’t succeed without solving the PP.
- Secondary scoring seems to be picking up pace, when they decide to show, which is welcome news. The third line looks good with either Jagr or Hathaway on the wing. Bennett is finding his game with a recent 4 point night versus Vancouver.
- THe D also seem to be shoring up their game. The second pairing with Hamonic and Brodie are working better together, which is good news since the coaching staff doesn’t seem to want to play either less.
- Goaltending has been solid. We all know this, and Rittich providing some consistency at backup is welcomed.
- Finally, the top line is struggling through December. Perhaps it has to do with a wider identity problem with the team as a whole. There are nights, particularly at home, where they seem uninterested in the game. We don’t have the usual crash and bang (hardly any hits anymore it seems).
Calgary looks great 5v5, but as of late special teams kill any momentum. The answers don’t seem to be waiting in the wings. Without some personnel changes on the PP, this may be the area that will dictate whether the team has success, or relative failure.