And just like that the Calgary Flames have strung together three consecutive victories. After an up and down play following the All-Star break, Calgary returned home and put in a dominant game versus the Islanders. After facing stiff competition in Pittsburgh last week the Flames pulled out a solid victory. Remember, it was the Penguins who beat the Flames bad earlier in the year that really kick-started the season turnaround.
This team will face adversity, and if what we saw in the past week, and their recovery, then hopefully it’s a stage that will only make the team better.
As for the play as of late, the goaltending situation seems to have settled with Mike Smith. A lot of fans are skeptical he has found his game and that it’s only a matter of time before he lets in more soft goals, but I’ve always been in a position to approach the goaltending situation as a 1A and 1B. Whomever is hot, ride that goaltender. David Rittich will factor in giveen the schedule in March, so he will get his chance again.
What’s been carrying this team as of late, surprisingly, is secondary scoring. Although James Neal is out week-to-week with a knee injury, the team hasn’t missed a beat (then again it wasn’t much of a loss). The fourth line led by Derek Ryan, are putting up points. The third-line has found some life with Austin Czarnik, and the second line, particularly last night, is leading the way offensively. If anything the top line hasn’t been as dominant as of late. They’ll eventually find their game. Bill Peters has switched the top line around a little bit to get some new scoring putting Matt Tkachuk playing top-line minutes.
Trade deadline Approaches
At the forefront of every conversation in the upcoming week will be the trade deadline. Will Calgary upgrade? They certainly will, but probably not in goal. With the return of Mike Stone it’s possible they will only be looking for forward depth. Mike Stone, and Valiamaki in the AHL, present the Flames with some options on D going deep into April.
If the Calgary Flames can continue with their secondary scoring support, and the top-line can find their game, their position at the top of the Western Conference is something for them to lose. Last night’s game against the New York Islanders was perhaps the best home game of the season as of late, and fans want to see that they are committed to consistent dominance. Something that’s been hard to accept given the decades of disappointment. But perhaps this is the year. Perhaps.