The Calgary Flames have a knack for losing to teams with below .500 ratings. Buffalo came into the city with an 11 game losing streak under their belt. Calgary, after a brief All-Star break, looked to find their winning form. Sitting in the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, the Flames need every two points they can muster.
Coming into the game a few notable updates, here are the post-game thoughts:
Flames 2 – Wings 3
The Calgary Flames currently sit 9th in the Conference and show signs of being a good team. Only problem is, good isn’t good enough. In every facet of the game the team lacks. 5-6th D pairings are terrible, perhaps the worst in the league. They compensate for the stars at 1-2 I guess. Size is a major problem. Sure, everyone loves Paul Byron’s pep, but if he’s not putting up points he’s useless. By the way, he’s not putting up points.
Only shining light in the game was the return of Mikael Backlund who missed 21 games with an abdominal tear. He didn’t look out of place and dominated.
Missing from the game was Hudler who celebrated the birth of his first child. Also, Ramo started but did not finish. He has a head injury after taking a knee to the head. Ortio likely to be recalled.
And that’s that. Calgary is too small, not mean, lacks adequate defensive zone coverage, and usually fall short in the possession and offensive game. There are few answers down the pipeline in the minors, so a trade would be in order, assuming we don’t want to throw this season away.
After losing eight the Flame shave now turned the tide around Christmas and registered their third in a row beating an elite team in LA twice. It helps that the lowly Edmonton Oilers are in the mix, but two wins against LA in the past 3 games is no small feat.
Calgary can thank some solid game planning, the usual team speed and transition game, and Jiri Hudler for some creative plays.
Post game thoughts:
Honestly, didn’t expect this one to turn out in a win. After dropping EIGHT straight with only a point in all 8 the Flames arrived in LA facing what should’ve been their ninth straight loss. There’s little offence being generated from deadweight like Glencross and pretty much the entire centre corps. That hasn’t been solved, but sometimes you get lucky, and for Calgary, in particular Jonny Gaudreau, luck was on their side just in time for Christmas.
The post-game highlights.
And just like that the fairy-tale season for the Calgary Flames is done. Sure, there’s still hope they can run .500 from here on in and maybe squeak in, but without any form of offensive scoring you can kiss that hope goodbye. No matter how hard I tried, making fun of all the overnight bloggers turned statisticians who called the Flames regression, it seems as though at this point in time they’re right. Yes, the Calgary Flames needed to average out, that’s for sure. Yes, they may have been at one point one of the hottest and highest scoring teams in the league, but all that is for not. The tune people are starting to sing is one of, “well in rebuild terms this is only year 2 so we’re not that bad.” Yea, that’s true, but nobody wants ‘not that bad’, if you can play at a playoff clip, then at least string together some wins.
Playoff teams may not win 6 in a row, but they sure don’t lose seven in a row. The Flames have done just that and without any end in sight it’s unlikely they’ll be able to right the ship. Of course, I’m willing to be wrong, and no, this still isn’t a regression, but let’s face it: nobody loses seven in a row unless they’re the Edmonton Oilers.
It’s always going to be close, but close isn’t good enough when all you need is W’s. What separates playoff teams from the rest is how you deal with adversity, particularly preventing multiple losses. Three in a row isn’t a mark of a playoff bound team. But before the stat hacks claim ‘regression’ in full force, take note of one clear thing–they’re still scoring.
The Flames will have to come down to Earth closer to their average, but with all the intangibles (and no stat hacks, ‘the bounces’ are not an excuse to explain success), they shouldn’t drop into the Western Conference basement. This is particularly notable when it’s the leading players contributing (or not) to losses.
Getting the most bang for your buck, that’s what the Calgary Flames are doing this season, second in the league currently for points divided by total salary. It helps when rookies like Josh Jooris are scoring and helping the team to victories. He makes the league minimum for entry level contracts and is a RFA at the end of the season.
Josh Jorris, never known as a prolific scorer and was undrafted to boot, recorded his first career hat-trick in his first NHL season as a Flame. He lead the team to their third victory in a row as the Calgary Flames continue to keep pace with the Pacific Division rivals.
Key highlights of tonight’s game:
The talk around a potential new arena to replace the fabled Saddledome has picked up in recent weeks. The Flames brass lead by Ken King and Brian Burke, are of course starting to get the PR wheels churning in support of City and Province to pony up support for a new NHL arena.
Calgary has among the oldest NHL rinks in the league, yet boasts among the highest consistent attendance. The question of whether this private enterprise (The Calgary Flames group) should receive any form of public dollar support to build their team a new arena is hotly debated.
Here’s a summary from a recent discussion on Facebook between fans on the issue.
Calgary is a solid 6-0-1 after a loss and continue to beat teams that are bigger and more skilled. With reinforcements on the way, the Flames played their second of three games on the road rolling through California and Arizona on Saturday. With the win tonight Calgary keeps up with the leaders in the Pacific division and makes the hint of playoffs all that more real.
Here are some post-game thoughts:
How long has it been since the FLames have won in Anaheim? 9 years? Something like that. Calgary needs to find a way to play their third periods in the first two, or at least improve period 1 because they routinely fall behind.
No game review, just copy and paste from tonight’s tweets. You can follow us @flamesstamps.