3 Things: Week 5
Week 5 is in the books for the Flames and it was a short and brutal week. The Flames only played twice and lost both games. The were outscored by the Stars and Rangers for the week by a count of 8-3. Here’s this week’s edition of 3 Things.
Yes, we know it’s bad, but last season it was terrible and believe it or not it’s worse this time around. The Flames sit in 29th place this season at 73%, ahead of only the Chicago Blackhawks. At this exact date in the season last year the Flames were at a robust 75% and their records were similar. The current edition of the Calgary Flames sit at 5-10-1 and are falling fast. The 2015-16 season version were 5-11-1 and were 37-50 on the penalty kill. The 2016-17 Flames? 46-63. Neither are good and it’s a disturbing trend for a team that brought in new coaches who “specialized” in this area. The Flames are sinking quickly and they need to find a way to correct both sides of their special teams. While it’s important to score on the PP, it’s more important, especially the way the Flames are playing, to keep the puck out of the net when down a man.
The Flames were gifted 16 games in the month of November by the NHL schedule makers and it has not been kind so far. Calgary is 6 games into that stretch and they are already 1-5 and being outscored 24-8. The first 4 games of the month appear to be the hardest part of that 16 game gauntlet. The only teams left this month that the Flames “could” struggle with are the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. The rest of the schedule sees Calgary take on: Minnesota, Arizona, Detroit, Columbus, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Toronto and the NY Islanders. The combined record of those teams currently sits at 50-56-17 and if the Flames are ever going to salvage their season, this month may be what makes it or breaks it.
Where have you been? Bennett has found himself reverting to the Sam Bennett of last season which found his highs very high and his lows very low. Bennett started the season off pointless in 5 straight, then he took off and had points in 5 straight. He’s gone back the Sam Bennett of the first 5 games in his last 7. He has one assist over that span and the Flames are 1-6 in those 7 games. This is not to say that Bennett is the Flames top problem, but he needs to be part of the solution. During the Flames current bout with futility, Bennett has only managed 3 shots on net and that is a problem. To make matters worse for Bennett he is struggling against teams from the Eastern Conference this year with 1 point in 5 games. Seven of the Flames 10 remaining games find Calgary playing teams from the Eastern Conference. Part of his problems could be that he’s been bounced throughout the entire lineup. If Bennett is going to get going, Gulutzan needs to find him a home on a line and leave him there.