Ugh. That was a miserable week of hockey for the good guys. Calgary was 1-2-0 with their only win coming over Panthers and getting blown out by the Oilers and not showing until the final 4 minutes against Nashville. Not exactly how you want to play hockey when you’re “trying” to make the playoffs. The Flames have a 3 game road trip that sees them take on Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. The playoffs could be in the rear view mirror by the time they come back to the Saddledome on February 1st. Enough depressing stuff, let’s talk about last week, oh, wait, it’s the same.
Outside of Sean Monahan, no one else seems to be interested in playing hockey besides the line of Mikael Bakclund, Michael Frolik and Matthew Tkachuk. That line was responsible for 7 points in the Flames 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Mikael Backlund had 2 goals and an assist. Michael Frolik had 2 assists and Matthew Tkachuk had 2 assists in the contest. Fast forward to the 4-3 no show against the Preds and Frolik scored and Mikael Backlund picked up the assist on the goal. Edmonton? Tkachuk picked up a power play goal and Frolik grabbed the helper. The Flames scored 11 goals this week total and the 3M line figured in 11 times on those goals. Sean Monahan had an outstanding week as well, but when you actually watch the games and forget the box score, this line looks like the only group out there that is really invested. There’s no stat for heart or effort, but if there was, this line would get high grades while most of the Flames would be failing.
Sam Bennett Gets To Watch From The Box
In a surprising, but not so surprising move, Sam Bennett got to watch the game from the box this week as Glen Gulutzan gave the struggling centre the night off. In 48 games so far this season Bennett has 9 goals and 9 assists and has only 79 SOG. More troubling is the amount of stupid penalties he takes. Bennett is 3rd on the Flames with 51 PIM, well behind Matthew Tkachuk’s team leading 90. I can handle Tkachuk’s 90 because he does other things. He leads the league in minor penalties drawn and he’s tied with Sean Monahan and Dougie Hamilton on the team with 30 points. Bennett? Not so much. Bennett got the night off and returned last night as the Flames battled the Oilers. His line? He had 15:21 TOI, was a -1, had 3 SOG and took 1 penalty (probably should have had another). Bennett needs to get it together if he plans on being a long term piece of the puzzle with the Flames. He’s young, so there’s still time to correct things, but Tkachuk is younger than Bennett and already shows more savvy and skill than Bennett has in almost 2 full seasons.
BOA Over Already?
When I originally typed that in it was before the Oilers 7-3 spanking of the Flames and it seemed like the season series shouldn’t have been over that quickly with both teams in the playoff hunt and all. But after Saturday night THANK GOD IT’S OVER. The Flames and Oilers locked horns 4 times this season with Edmonton sweeping the Flames in the regular season for the first time EVER in the history of the Battle Of Alberta (the Flames have done it twice). And make no mistake about it, Edmonton did it in convincing fashion. 7-4. 5-3. 2-1. 7-3. It’s not even close. The bummer in this whole scenario were the back to back games they played right at the start of the season. Games #1 and #2 were Flames and Oilers and the final two came in the month of January, within a week of each other. There’s a chance the Flames don’t sniff the playoffs with the way they’ve been playing as of late, but if it comes down to the final weeks of the season, wouldn’t it be better if these two had to go through each other to get in? The Oilers are pretty much a shoe-in for the playoffs, but wouldn’t you want to see the Flames have to get by their bitter rivals to secure a playoff spot? It makes for better hockey, but with the way Calgary is playing against the Oilers, maybe it’s best that the series ended on Saturday night at the Saddledome.