So we didn’t expect the Flames to turn it around like this. Did you? Fans are used to a little high and a big low. We’re still waiting for the floor to fall out from beneath this team. But given the play throughout the first two months of the season, you get the sense they are a bit more even keel than years past. You can thank coach Sutter and his focus on details, a defense first approach to the game, and game-day preparation. All aspects missing from the Flames over the past number of years. Can they continue winning at the clip they have been? Well we can expect the stalwart goaltending to come back down to earth, but there’s no reason they won’t be floating around the top of the division from here on.
The surprises thus far, and keys to continue consistent winning ways:
- Surprises from the back end. Defence has been solid with the top 4 playing big minutes, and the bottom 2 rounding out. Question is will Oliver Kylington come back to earth? He’s among the D leaders in the league for points. Chances are he will, but his emergence is a key to the back end. Not often you go from the AHL to top 4. Same can’t be said for Valimaki who has underperformed and can’t seem to get on the ice. He won’t be getting any benefit of the doubt from Sutter until his game improves. He can’t improve without playing time….
- Dan Vladar has been a fantastic addition and a big ? coming into the season. He’s winning games and those are crucial points for the club.
- Up front the top line is producing. But when they don’t, the team struggles. That’s a challenge. Will secondary scoring emerge? Mangiapane is pulling his weight, but after that, big bust in Monahan and Coleman. The bottom 3, just completley missing in action. Lucic is scoring as a 4th liner should, which is great, but after that it falls off a cliff. Secondary scoring will be the question in the second half.
- The team has played a bulk of their Eastern conference games already. The question is can they win against divisional rivals? Finding consistency and getting up for Divisional games is proving difficult for the team. December will determine whether they can find their game closer to home.
Link from the past month. Time to celebrate.
- Congratulations, Jarome Iginla inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The celebration muted of course given the pandemic.
- Flames set modern shut-out record with 7 in 17 games. https://dailyhive.com/calgary/flames-set-new-modern-nhl-shutout-record