Another rough one for the Flames as the went 1-2-1 and fell out of the Wild Card race by only getting 3 out of a possible 8 points in Week 11. The Flames offence finally cranked it up in their 6-1 win over Vancouver, but the rest of the week Calgary struggled to find the back of the net. Three combined goals in their first 3 games wasn’t going to cut it and it didn’t. Calgary lost to Minnesota, San Jose and Nashville and against those teams you aren’t winning scoring 3 total goals. On the bright side the Flames 3rd line exploded at the end of the week. The three had been playing well, but Sunday night in Vancouver Mark Jankowski had 3 points, Sam Bennett had 4 points and Garnet Hathaway had an assist on Janko’s first period goal. Now, time for the rest. It’s bad, but showing some hope. Here’s the Week 11 Edition of 3 Things.
D Points: The Flames need points from the blue line.
It’s no secret that the Flames are having a hard time finding the back of the net and the guys on the blue line haven’t been helping. Mark Giordano got the Flames a little help this week with 2 goals and an assist, but it’s been tough sledding for Calgary’s defenceman when it comes to points. T.J. Brodie is 6th on the Flames in points and had a 0 point week (2 points in his last 15 games). Dougie Hamilton is 7th on the Flames in points and he had 2 assists this week, snapping a 7 game pointless streak. Travis Hamonic had 1 assist this week, his second point in 11 games and Brett Kulak and Michael Stone have 1 point combined in the last 10 games. Yes, your defencemen play defence, but this is 2017. The Flames need more out of their defence in terms of goals and helpers if this ship is going to start heading towards the playoffs. On the flip side, Calgary’s 6 guys on the blue line have been playing very well on defence, especially Brodie and Hamonic. So it’s a give and take: take away the offence, the defence gets better. A healthy balance is needed though or the Flames will be watching from home come spring time.
Is Smitty Showing Signs Of Wear?: It was a tough week for Mike Smith.
In his defence, he wasn’t going to be unstoppable all season. Week 11 wasn’t kind to Mike Smith as the Flames netminder went 0-2-1 this week and is 2-5-3 in his last 10 starts. This week he was partially the victim of no scoring, but he did give up at least 3 soft goals this week that he had to have. Whether it’s just him or a combination of things, the Flames need Smith to be the guy from the first 2 months of the season or it may get ugly and get ugly quickly. David Rittich has proven to be a capable backup, but is he ready to handle a larger work load should Smith get hurt or continue to stumble? The good news for all parties involved is it’s a short week next week and then there is plenty of time off for the Christmas holiday. In other Mike Smith related news, Smith played in his 500th career NHL games last week which is a pretty big milestone for a goaltender and was honored by the Flames before their game with Nashville.
YAY! A PPG: But It’s Still A Terrible Power Play.
THE FLAMES SCORED A PPG!!!!!!!!!!! It’s a Christmas Miracle. Micheal Ferland’s 3rd period marker (13th of the season) was Calgary’s first PPG since..........1987. Kidding, but it seems like it’s been that long. The Flames haven’t scored a goal with the man advantage since December 6th. That was 0-24 if you’re keeping track at home. This week alone the Flames were a horrendous 1-16, including a 2 shot effort on a 5 on 3 against the Nashville Predators and they sit at 20th in the NHL with a PP% of 17.6 percent. Whether it’s Dave Cameron’s system or Glen Gulutzan’s mix of players, it’s not working and at times it looks beyond repair. Maybe Micheal Ferland’s goal will spark something in the Flames, but 0-24 streaks and 1-16 weeks need to be a thing of the past.