â€œGood teams never lose three in a rowâ€ â€“ Scotty Bowman
â€¦.and the Flames did win in 5-4 shoot out victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. In what had been a strange, bumpy, physical night at the Pengrowth Saddledome, they (the Calgary Flames) managed to get the two points â€“ courtesy of Todd Bertuzziâ€™s lone shoot out winner. In effect, Iginla, Cammalleri (2), and Moss helped the team maintain the gameâ€™s pace, while Aucoin, Giordano, Boyd, Sarich set up excellent plays; and, of course Kiprusoff turned aside all the three goals in the shoot out contest. Needless to say, it hadnâ€™t been an easy win in many ways: the Flames had come back from four one goal deficits, there were lots of unpleasantries between the two teams, many penalties – some majors and two man disadvantagesâ€¦ but despite the bumps and grinds, particularly after losing two back to back games, giving up a power play and shorthanded goals, the Flames had perseveredâ€¦.
Conspicuously, the two prior loses against the Coyotes and Avalanche as well as their inability to kill all the penalties has somewhat distorted the Flamesâ€™ statistics. Subsequently they are now 28-14-4 with a record of 17-5-3 on home ice. Their power play percentage (19.25%) and penalty killing percentages (85.71%) has plummeted marginally, but they are still two points ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks and rank 3rd in the western division. Hopefully, the Wednesdayâ€™s consequences will mark the end of their losing drought and begin their winning/point trends.
After the NHL all star break, the Calgary Flames will host the final two games to end the month of January.
Game 47: The Buffalo Sabres at Pengrowth Saddledome (6:00 pm) TSN
On January 28th, the Flames will host the Buffalo Sabres in their first meeting with their eastern conference counterparts. The Sabres rank seventh in the eastern conference division and 11th in NHL standings with a total of 24-18-5 and 53 points. This encompasses a road record of 11 wins 9 loses and 3 ties and a total of four short handed goals. In addition, their power play and penalty killing percentage is slightly stronger (19.79%: 86.24%). These last two factors will be significant for the home team to bear in mind. On a positive forefront, however, the Flames have a good overall record: they have won more and lost fewer games, have a better home record and have home ice advantage. More importantly, the six day break may help them set aside their disillusionment and regroup their winning strategies.
Game 48: Flames host the Nashville Predators – January 30th (7.00 pm) Sportsnet
In terms of statistical standings, the Nashville Predators ranks 14th in the western conference division and the Calgary Flames have defeated their counterparts during the last three encounters (Oct 23rd, Nov 6th and Jan 3rd). Of note, the Predatorâ€™s power play is 13.68% and their penalty killing is only 83.96% and they are 8-14-2 on the road with 20-23-3 and a total of 43 points only. This in itself should be a motivational factor for the Flames should they remain calm, confident and composed â€“ and these 3 Câ€™s will be a must. Unwarranted penalties actually immobilize the penalty killers as they are often involved in killing the 5 on 4 or 5 on 3â€™s rather than using the precious time scoring goals.
On a positive closing note, the Calgary Flames have what it takes to be a good offensive team and it will be imperative to make the most of home ice advantage. If they can accomplish as many wins on home ice, the cumulative standings will help them tackle the stronger teams without lifting a heavier load on their shoulders.
A play by play coverage will be hosted for both these games on The Fan 960.
Statistics as of January 22nd .