At long last, the Calgary Flames are starting to string wins together
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
Through the first 73 games of the season, the Calgary Flames were at times the opposite of the fabled “Find a Way Flames” of yesteryear. Simply put: when it was crunch time, the Flames would often find a way to lose. But of late, that tide appears to have turned.
On Friday night in Vancouver, the Flames found a way to win when the chips were down. On Sunday night in the Saddledome, they found a way to do it again against the Anaheim Ducks.
Prior to the Flames’ victory over San Jose on Mar. 25, the Flames had won just 16 of 46 games decided by one goal (including games boosted by empty-netters by either team). Starting with that night’s 5-3 victory over the Sharks, the Flames have won four consecutive one-goal games.
The four wins in a row also represent the first time the club has strung together four consecutive victories all season. They had previously put together three game streaks twice – Oct. 13-18, the first three games of the season, and Dec. 3-7. Aside from those strings, and a couple lengthy losing skids, they’ve been a win one, lose one lot for much of the season.
Moreover, their victories over Vancouver and Anaheim were the first two times they’ve won a game when trailing after two periods this season. They had lost the previous 24 games they had played in that situation – their previous win when trailing after 40 minutes was Apr. 12, 2022 in Seattle, where the Flames entered the third period down 3-1 and scored four unanswered goals to win.
The four wins have come in two very distinct patterns: two games where they barely trailed and two games where they barely led.
- The Flames trailed for just 25 seconds (combined) against San Jose and Los Angeles, in a pair of games where they managed their leads fairly well and didn’t buckle when the other side pushed.
- The Flames led for just 3:36 (combined) against Vancouver and Anaheim in a pair of games where they kept finding ways to claw back into it, and eventually managed to eke out wins.
In short: they had a pair of games where style points were probably warranted, and a pair of games where style points were completely out of the question. Both count for the same number of points in the standings.
In another time, another place, another set of circumstances, Flames players, coaches and management could easily nitpick a win. If there was more time left on the clock, if they were above the playoff cutline instead of below it, perhaps the Flames could afford themselves a bit of navel-gazing.
But with five games to go, sitting two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Flames remain laser-focused on stringing together wins by any means necessary. There will be time for them to fuss over the details of how things got done later on.
At this point, a win’s a win. And they need as many as absolutely possible to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive.
Next up? An absolutely crucial back-to-back set against Chicago and (gasp) Winnipeg.
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