The only saving grace for the inconsistent Flames’ play is the fact most other Western Conference teams are struggling too. Identity is the key to this team, something they’re still trying to find amidst a brand new system deployed by a brand new coaching staff. Slowly the team is picking up the pieces and assembling a competent on-ice product–slowly. Some games things look good for a while, other games things don’t look good. The Flames have been relying on the production of a balanced offensive attack to get by, as the top-line with Gaudreau-Monahan-4th line plugger struggle to find any 5v5 pressure.
The Backlund line with Frolik and Tkachuk are leading the team and are a 3rd line surprise. FOr his part, rookie Tkachuk got the thumbs up for his play, rewarded before the game with news he’d be sticking with the big club and learning on the fly. Good thing too, he scored two goals including the GWG.
Other notes: Dennis Wideman moved from #2 D man, which still remains one of the most inexplicable things, to the pressbox. How one makes that kind of jump is beyond me. Chad Johnson was solid in net, showing how we have a worthy tandem in goal this year. Deryk Engelland was the offensive defenceman tonight, leading the rush on both Tkachuk goals, ya, that Engelland.
LA and Anaheim are next, the latter a rink where the Flames can’t even buy a win, but something just feels right about the weekend for this team….