Calgary finished up Week 23 with a record of 2-1-1, keeping their faint playoff hopes alive by collecting 5 of a possible 8 points on the week. Calgary started off with a 4-3 OT loss to Pittsburgh before reeling off 2 straight wins over the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators. The Flames finished up the week with a demoralizing 5-2 loss to the free falling NY Islanders.
Mike Smith returned to the Flames lineup and struggled in his first action in a month. The good news for the Flames is they did get some quality goaltending this week when things were certainly looking bleak.
At the end of Week 23 the Flames found themselves 2 points behind the Avalanche for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
Sean Monahan’s 30
This week Sean Monahan scored his 30th goal of the season in Calgary’s 5-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. It was the second time Monahan has scored 30 goals, the other being 2014-15 when he deposited 31 goals into opposing nets. The goal was his only goal of the week, but he picked up two more points on assists, giving him 3 on the week and 61 points on the season.
David Rittich Steadies The Ship
The Flames goaltending situation was getting pretty hairy while everyone waited for Mike Smith to come back. David Rittich stumbled out of the gate in the new found start’s role and while Jon Gillies looked good in his first 2 starts, he hit the wall as well. Thankfully David Rittich was able to shake off whatever was bothering him and he got the Flames 2 victories this week. Rittich took down the Sabres 5-1, but his most impressive performance came in a 2-1 win over Ottawa. Rittich stopped 29 of 30 en route to his 8th win of the season. The saves totals are good, but it was the way he played down the stretch when it looked like the Flames were going to fold. ottawa really pushed the Flames in the final minutes of the 3rd, yet Rittich made big save after big save to preserve the Flames 1 goal lead.
Lack’o Power Play
Would it really be a 3 Things without a mention of the Flames special teams? The Flames power play had showed some life in the prior weeks, leading all of us to believe that things were on the mend. Clearly we were duped. The Flames had 10 man up opportunities this week and only scored once. The 1-10 is bad, but if you roll back the calendar a few, the Flames are an atrocious 1 for their last 24. There’s probably dozens of reasons that Calgary might not make the playoffs, but the abysmal power play has got to be tops on the list.