The Flames just finished up a very busy week with 4 games in 7 days and they went 3-0-1 over that span. Not too shabby. The Flames swept all 3 games at the Dome and now they hit the road for a quick two game trek to Dallas and Phoenix. Here’s 3 Things that happened last week that are worth discussing.
Are you really surprised he’s the first topic? 23 goals in 10 games. That’s what the Flames produced when Gaudreau was out, 2.3 goals a game. Gaudreau comes back and the Flames put an 8 spot up on the Ducks at home. It’s no coincidence that the Flames clicked on all cylinders and looked like the team everyone expected them to be once Johnny Gaudreau returned to the lineup. The Flames were buzzing and flying on the ice and Gaudreau looked more like the Johnny Gaudreau of the last 2 years as opposed to how he had been playing before he was injured. The Flames shocked everyone yesterday afternoon when they and Gaudreau announced that he was returning to the lineup early. When Gaudreau has his hand hacked to pieces by Minnesota he was supposed to be out 4-6 weeks and the season looked toast. The Flames managed to scrape together a 6-3-1 record while hardly putting the puck in the net during Gaudreau’s absence, but last night was different.
The Flames dominated the Ducks from start to finish and Gaudreau got the Flames on the board first, on his first shift, on his first shot. What more could you ask for? He had 4 shots on net, 2 points (1G 1A), was a +2 and had 18:28 of TOT. Welcome back Johnny Hockey. Welcome back.
Forget all you know about the Flames PK. It’s KILLING it lately. After the post Buffalo special teams debacle (3 PP goals allowed), the Flames have settled in and are down right stingy when playing down a man. In their last 7 games the Flames are 25-27 when forced to kill a penalty. The Calgary PK is now at a 77.9% success rate, which is 28th in the league, but is steadily climbing. They are still a long way from reaching the top spot, which is occupied by the Carolina Hurricanes at 91.3%, but any improvement is good.
Janko finally made it to Calgary just in time for the tail end of their 6 game road trip last week. Jankowski was dressed, but inactive against the Bruins and Flyers, but made his NHL debut on Monday against the NY Islanders. Jankowski didn’t register a point or get a shot on net, but he did get 13 shifts and had 10:18 TOT. Not a bad debut and he didn’t look out of place while under the bright lights of the NHL. Unfortunately for Jankowski that was all the action he would see. The Flames sent Jankowski back to Stockton where he played in 2 games this week and had 1 assist and 7 shots on net. That might not be Jankowski’s last trip to play with the big club this year, but a quick cup of coffee wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for Janko or the Flames. Calgary gets to see if he could handle the NHL and Jankowski got a chance to see what the NHL was all about and I think it worked out well for both sides. While I’d like to see more of Jankowski at the NHL level, a “full” season at Stockton wouldn’t hurt him either.