Start packing the bags (again) and getting the passports ready (again) because the Flames are hitting the road (again).
Calgary just finished a three game homestand that saw them go 2-1-0 after a grueling trip through the Eastern Conference, playing seven games in eleven days (4-1-2) and it’s right back on the road again. This time, the points are way more valuable as Calgary is taking a trip down the California Highway with stops in LA, Anaheim, San Jose with a visit to Vegas sandwiched in there as well. The Flames haven’t played particularly well against the Pacific as they’ve accumulated a 0-2-1 record so far. Sure, it’s a small sample size, but it’s certainly something the Flames need to approve on. What’s in their favour? The Flames are killing it on the road. The Flames are 9-2-2 on the road and have won three straight away from the Saddledome, including two shutouts.
Here’s what the Flames are looking at on this four game road trip that awaits them:
12/3: Calgary Flames @ Anaheim Ducks, 8 PM MT
12/5: Calgary Flames @ Vegas Golden Knights, 8 PM MT
12/7: Calgary Flames @ San Jose Sharks, 8:30 PM MT
This is not going to be an easy trip by any stretch of the imagination for the Flames. Calgary lost already to a depleted San Jose team 4-1 back on November 9th. The Flames already lost to the Ducks 3-2 in overtime back on October 18th. And Vegas hasn’t been a fun place for the Flames to play since the Golden Knights entered the league (0-6-0).
Anaheim, LA and Vegas were playing some very good hockey, each with prolonged winning streaks, but have cooled off since. All four opponents sit below the Flames in the Pacific Division standings with Anaheim being the closest to Calgary with 25 points, which is six behind the front running Flames. This is a golden opportunity for the Flames to put some distance between themselves and the rest of their division. Here’s what their opponents look like as of this being written (11/30):
|LA Kings||9-8-3||21||Pacific (6th)||1-3-1|
|Anaheim Ducks||11-8-3||25||Pacific (3rd)||1-4-0|
|Vegas Golden Knights||12-9-0||24||Pacific (4th)||3-2-0|
|San Jose Sharks||11-9-1||23||Pacific (5th)||3-2-0|
As you can see, it’s not exactly a murderers row that awaits the Flames, but oh how the Flames struggle in these arenas. Calgary hasn’t beaten Vegas, EVER, at their home arena since they’ve come into the league. The Flames are 0-6-0 at T-Mobile Arena and have been outscored 27-6. That’s not good. Then we have Anaheim. Everyone knows the horror story that was a visit to the Ducks where the Flames lost 3,731 games (yes, that’s an exaggeration) in a row. In reality the Flames lost 29 in a row in Anaheim at one point, BUT they’ve won two straight at Honda Center so there is hope. As for San Jose and LA the Flames have played average hockey when visiting those cities with no prolonged losing streaks to speak of. Here’s what Calgary looks like all time against these opponents on the road:
|@ LA Kings||56-70-9||3-2-0|
|@ Anaheim Ducks||12-46-6||2-3-0|
|@ Vegas Golden Knights||0-6-0||0-5-0|
|@ San Jose Sharks||36-35-4||2-3-0|
It’s early in the season to get worked up about a four game trip like this, but it’s a huge opportunity for the Flames to pad their division lead and create some space. There’s a rather large game looming way down the road with Edmonton on December 27th, but right now these four games are very important. If Calgary can get, say, five or six out of a possible eight points that will be an extremely successful trip. Is it a dream to think of a West Coast sweep? Sure, but stranger things have happened. Honestly, we should probably expect a split, with the game in Vegas being the toughest one of the trip just based on the most recent experiences.