The Flames just wrapped up Week 23 with a more than convincing 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night. The Flames only played twice during the week, but they managed to record 2 shut outs, score 8 goals and climb into 2nd place in the Pacific Division. Without further adieu, here’s the Week 23 edition of Three Things.
Bennett Bringing The Truculence
Who’d have thought that Sam Bennett would be one of the Flames roughest and or toughest? His latest scrap saw him in a bloody knuckled throw down with Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba. The fighting major was Bennett’s 3rd on the season, which puts him 4th on the Flames behind Deryk Engelland (8), Micheal Ferland (5) and Garnet Hathaway (4). Those 3 would be who you would expect to be tops on the Flames in boxing on skates, but Bennett shouldn’t be a total surprise. Bennett was 5th on the Flames in hits last year with 110 in 77 games. This season he currently is 4th on the Flames with 106 hits in 67 games. Bennett’s offence is way off this season, which is something the Flames should be concerned about, but at least he’s chipping in in other areas. Bennett’s hits are up, he has 105 shots on net and he’s second on the team in PIM with 77. So while the Flames wait for Bennett to start putting the puck in the net, at least he’s throwing his body around and when he feels the need to, he’s not afraid to throw his fists around either. Who would have thought that Bennett would turn into the bottom six muscle and Micheal Ferland would turn into a top six power forward?
It’s Been A While...
The Flames cranked out their 9th straight victory on Saturday night, which is the Flames longest winning streak since moving to Calgary. The Flames tied the Calgary record of 8 in a row (2005) with their 5-0 blanking of the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. To put that into perspective, the Flames have had 16 different head coaches since they last won 9 straight games. The Flames longest franchise winning streak is 10 games (Atlanta, Oct 14-Nov 3rd 1978), which the Flames can tie if they beat the Penguins Monday night at the Saddledome. They can break that record on Wednesday night when the Boston Bruins come to town. While breaking a franchise record is an accomplishment, it’s more important for the Flames to keep winning as they leap frog team after team in the Western Conference.
Here Come The Flames
Calgary may be approaching franchise records, but more importantly the Flames are “approaching” the San Jose Sharks. The Flames sit only 7 points behind the 3rd place Sharks in the West. The Flames hot streak has seen them go from 8th in the Conference to 4th place, jumping over Edmonton, LA, Anaheim, St. Louis and Nashville. What the Flames have done over the last few weeks has been absolutely remarkable. Calgary no longer holds a WC spot, they’re a legit playoff team, with Edmonton (hehe) and St. Louis occupying the WC slots. It’s not all roses though. The Flames have a challenging road ahead. They have 14 games left this season, 3 against LA and 2 apiece against the Sharks and Ducks, with a visit to St. Louis crammed in there as well. So time will tell if the Flames can stay up in the Western Conference, but if they keep playing the way they are right now, they should be fine.