The Flames finished up Week 22 with a record of 0-3-0 and things are beginning to look bleak. Calgary was outscored on the week 10-3 and the power play was an abysmal 0-14 in their three loses to the Stars, Avalanche and Rangers.
The Flames are out of a Wildcard Spot right now, sitting 3 points behind the Anaheim Ducks and 4 points behind the Dallas Stars. The Flames have to climb over St. Louis and Colorado to even sniff the two teams holding WC spots and the way they have played lately it would seem to take a miracle for this team to get back into a WC spot. Here’s the rest of a bad week compressed into 3 Things.
Where’s The Top Line?
It’s crunch time in the 2017-18 season and the Flames need their best line to step up if the Flames want to make a playoff push. The problem is, they aren’t stepping up. Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau have been MIA for the past week and while the initial push with Sam Bennett up top looked promising, it has cooled off significantly. Johnny Gaudreau collected a big goose egg on the week and was a -1, -2 and -1 in 3 games. Sean Monahan was a no show as well, collecting 0 points and he was in the negative half of plus/minus as well. Sam Bennett? Big surprise, 0 as well.
Now, they Flames haven’t played well as a team lately. They look uninspired and have ZERO fire while on the ice. Micheal Ferland was really struggling before he was hurt, but maybe it’s time to slot him back on the top line when he’s healthy. There’s over $13 million dollars tied up in 2 players on that line and they aren’t producing at all. Calgary needs Gaudreau and Monahan to really push the pace of play and lead the Flames or it’s golf season sooner rather than later. I’ll give Bennett a pass because he’s never really done anything to show he can carry a line or be an impact player. The other two? We should expect more from them.
Hot Goalies....And Not In Flames Uniforms
Nothing against David Rittich and Jon Gillies (he’s actually played very well), but the hottest goalies on the ice this week in Flames games were the opposition. Ben Bishop played out of his mind in the Stars 2-0 win over the Flames Tuesday night. He was a brick wall and stopped all 38 of the Flames shots that came his way. Equally as frustrating was Calgary’s 5-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night. Calgary blew a 2-0 lead and then all of a sudden Seymon Varlamov, who the Flames pounded 5-1 a week ago, became super human stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced. And last but not least there was Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers netminder stopped 50 shots FOR THE SECOND GAME IN A ROW and beat the Flames 3-1 Friday night.
The Flames scored 3 times on 3 different goalies, who made 118 saves. Let that sink in for a few. Sometimes the goalie is lucky, sometimes the goalie is just good, sometimes your shot selection is weak. Whatever the case, the Flames were shutdown by 3 goalies who made them look stupid over the course of the week. Congrats to Bishop, Varlamov and Lundqvist for top notch performances in those 3 games. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the other guys.
In what was a bad week W/L wise, the Flames had zero discipline on the ice. In 3 games this week Calgary took a ridiculous 16 penalties. Yes, the officiating was atrocious in their 5-2 loss to the Avalanche, but the Flames also need to stop taking stupid penalties. They did get better against the Rangers, only taking 3 penalties, which they killed,but the 13 in the 2 previous games was utter nonsense. The only penalty in that whole mess that I was fine with was Johnny Gaudreau’s 10 Minute Game Misconduct against Colorado. Gaudreau took a stick in the throat and naturally his head snapped back and the incompetent referee decided Gaudreau was guilty of embellishment. Johnny Gaudreau then barked at the officials for close to 3 minutes and gestured something from the penalty box that got him tossed. Thankfully at the end of the day the Flames only gave up 2 PPG in 16 chances. It’s high time for this coaching staff to get things under control and keep their players on the ice and not in the box.