Not a bad week for the good guys as the Flames finished up Week 21 with a 2-1-1 record. The Flames lost a tough one to the Bruins 2-1 in OT to start the week, got destroyed in Vegas 7-3, but they bounced back with victories over the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche. The Flames are 32-22-9 and in a playoff spot. Their win over Colorado, combined with loses by Anaheim, LA and Dallas pushed them up to 7th place in the Western Conference, but due to games in hand the Flames hold the 6th playoff spot....for now. Here’s the rest of what was important in Week 21 in the world of the Calgary Flames.
Glen “The Shuffler” Gulutzan: New lines, better results.
Las Vegas is typically where you think of gambling and shuffling, but not in Glen Gulutzan’s world. Glen let the house take all his money in Vegas BEFORE he decided to shuffle the deck. Tired of casino references yet? After the Flames lackluster uninspired terrible 7-3 loss to the Golden Knights the Flames bench boss threw the lines into a blender. Sam Bennett was moved to the top line and Micheal Ferland was dropped to the 3rd line and the results were immediate. Sam Bennett scored and had an assist. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and 2 assists and Sean Monahan had an assist (also had a PPG). Not to be forgotten, Micheal Ferland chipped in in his own way. Matt Stajan got rocked with a head shot from Zac Rinaldo and the old Ferland showed up and pounded Rinaldo for his troubles.
Who is this new Glen Gulutzan? It took 50+ games to move Dougie Hamilton to the top PP line and it took an embarrassing loss and an 11 game goal-less streak for Micheal Ferland to shake things up. Who knows if these line will work full time, but it seems like Glen Gulutzan finally saw the playoffs (and potentially his job) slipping away and did something about it.
Goaltending Troubles: It was a rough week for one Flames keeper.
It’s been a rough ride for David Rittich since Mike Smith went down with a groin injury and was placed on IR. Rittich is 1-3-1 in Smith’s absence and he’s been replaced by Jon Gillies in the Flames last 2 games. Prior to taking over the starting spot Rittich was 5-1-2 and had a Save % north of .920. He was solid as a spot starter when Smith needed a day off, but he’s struggled in the full time starter role. Granted, the Flames haven’t played well in front of him at times, but he has struggled to make a big save when the Flames needed one.
Jon Gilles was won both starts since “taking over” for David Rittich, surrendering only 3 goals on 66 shots. Yes, one win was against the lowly Coyotes and he looked rattled early, but he settled in nicely. And there was no such feeling when he defeated the Avalanche 5-1 Saturday afternoon.
So who’s the starter until Mike Smith comes back (more on that below)? If the Flames are in win mode, it has to be Gillies job until he loses it.
Comings and Goings: Another week with lots of moves.
Another week with lots of moves. Troy Brouwer came back to the Flames lineup this week and played fairly well. His first game back against Arizona wasn’t anything to write home about, but he didn’t do anything negatively on the ice either. Against the Avs Brouwer notched his 4th goal of season and saw 2:11 of ice time on the power play.
Andrew Mangiapane made his return to Calgary for Saturday’s tilt with the Avalanche. Mangiapane had been down in Stockton, but the Flames needed an extra skater after Micheal Ferland was scratched.
The Flames placed Mike Smith on IR this week as well. What that means is anyone’s guess, but we should probably get used to the tandem of Jon Gillies and David Rittich for at least this week. The Flames MVP has been out for 7 games after hurting his groin.
Micheal Ferland was out of the lineup yesterday as well after leaving the Flames/Coyotes game in the second period. He had a first period scrap with Zac Rinaldo and played the rest of the period and limited minutes in the second. Ferland was then given the day off (reports are suggesting he’s been banged up for a bit) and it could be a good thing for the Flames winger. He hasn’t scored in 12 games and he was sent down to the 3rd line against Arizona. Hanging his lack of production lately on an injury would makes sense as he’s played at a very high level all season prior to this dry spell.
Morgan Klimchuk saw his NHL debut take place against the Bruins and then was quickly sent back to Stockton once Troy Brouwer was back against the Coyotes. A very quick cup of coffee for Klimchuk who made his debut against the second best team in the NHL and was on the 4th line. Not exactly a recipe for success.
And finally the Flames signed Canadian Olympian Cody Goloubef to a 2 way, 2 year contract.