The Flames just finished up Week 20 and found themselves 1-1-1 after their 3 games last week. The playoffs are a major topic/concern, as is Chad Johnson and Johnny Gaudreau’s play. Welcome to 3 Things For Week 20.
The Flames, after getting 3 of a possible 6 points on the week still manage to find themselves in the 8th and final playoff spot in the West. This is by no means a stranglehold on the 8th spot either. The Flames are 1 point ahead of Winnipeg and 2 points ahead of the Kings, while Vancouver who’s still sort of alive, sits 4 points behind the Flames. Calgary’s up and down play hasn’t helped them build a bigger lead, but their competition in the Western Conference has helped the Flames. The Kings are 1-5 in their last 6, Nashville is 3-3-0 in their last 6, Vancouver is 2-4-0 in their last 6, Winnipeg is 3-2-1 over their last 6 and Calgary is 3-2-1 over that same span. Calgary has done just enough to stay afloat, but their competition has really helped the Flames as of late. The Flames are going to have to play better than they have recently because odds are the rest of the Conference won’t stay cold for much longer.
Chad Johnson’s Fall From The Crease
Johnson only had one start this week and it was miserable. The veteran keeper started and did not finish during the Flames 5-0 shellacking at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes. Johnson gave up 4 goals on 23 shots before being yanked and it’s a disturbing trend that doesn’t seem to be correcting itself. Since Johnson went on that tear in December and basically saved the Flames season he has been HORRIBLE. He has 4 wins in his last 14 starts, including a 3-7 record at the Saddledome. Since December 14th, Johnson has given up 3 or more goals 8 times with the worst being a 5 goal pounding against the Canadiens on 20 shots. The trade deadline is looming and you’d think Calgary would be looking to move one of their goaltenders, but it’s tough to imagine Johnson is getting many looks with how he’s played recently.
Short of a red hot, 14 point December and a trip to the All Star Game, 2016-17 is a season Johnny Gaudreau would probably like to forget. Last week was no exception. Gaudreau had a goose egg for the week on 8 shots and found himself briefly in the dog house during the 5-0 loss to the Coyotes. Gaudreau turned the puck over leading to a goal and ended up skating with the 4th line for a bit. Which, truth be told, seems a bit extreme seeing Dennis Wideman still gets more ice time than he deserves with how he plays, but I digress. Calgary is precariously standing on the edge of the playoffs and the desperately need their star forward to start putting the puck in the net. Gaudreau only has 1 goal in his last 19 games! 1 goal, 19 games. Yes, you read that correctly. Has the league figured him out? Is Gulutzan’s system not conducive to his game? Is his head just not in the right spot? Only #13 knows and he needs to figure it out or the Flames aren’t going anywhere.