Calgary are back to their winning ways after the All-Star game with a win vs. Carolina. The team struggled to up their intensity versus Washington in a loss. Tonight there were many times they were hemmed in their own zone, with all 4 lines getting out worked down low. This team has found a knack at winning games when they’re being outplayed and outshot. That’s a big difference from year’s prior. But it doesn’t bode well for their future if they can’t up their game. The season changes the closer the playoffs arrive and the Flames have yet to find their groove, or the next level.
Yes, they still sit at the top of the Western Conference, but no their recent play hasn’t instilled a level of play necessary to carry their fortunes into April.
Notable holes on the team are on the back end. Travis Hamonic sat out which meant a 4th line pairing of Prout and Kylington. Neither were slated to do much this year, but with injuries comes added responsibilities. The team likely knows they won’t be able to rely on this 3rd pairing come post-season, so expect some changes via trade. That assumes Valiamaki and Stone aren’t major pieces of the plan moving forward.
Curious note about last night’s game. All the goals, for both teams, were scored or assisted by players on their new teams. Lindholm had a parting gift for HUrricane fans as he mocked their team celebration at the end of regulation. For the Flames Derek Ryan put in his best outing as a Flames and may even move up the lineup with his performance. Ryan, Hanafin, and Lindholm all scored. Garnett Hathaway continues his “torrid pace” and has more goals than snake bit James Neal….who until he starts scoring, is this year’s Troy Brouwer….only with fewer goals.
Next up, a crucial divisional matchup with the SJ Sharks. It’ll be a salty one folks.