The Flames have been getting by in recent weeks in a kind of Nashvillian fashion – mostly getting outshot at ES, but garnering points thanks to a mix of opportunistic scoring and above average netminding. Of course, the Preds win games like that by design/necessity while Calgary has kind fallen into the habit.
It’s not an ideal path to success in the NHL, but it’s the best way for a club like Nashville to stay competitive given some of their challenges. As they are currently built – with a concentration on high-end goaltending and defenders and not much up front – the Predators will never ascend beyond the NHL’s middle class, but they aren’t likely to fall into the basement as well.
That’s been the Flames challenge since about 2005-06 too. The blueprint has chnaged numerous times and the challenges the Flames face now aren’t the ones they were seeking to overcome six years ago, but the results are more or less the same.
With a bevy of injuries both up front and on the back-end, Calgary has gone from decent outshooting team to a bottom-barrel club. It’s a solid step back. If it persists, the hopes of one last playoff appearance before hard decisions are made this offseason will rapidly fade in the new year. That is, unless Kipper and backup (Irving?) can continue to stop 94%+ of the shots they see at ES indefinitely, of course.