The good, bad and ugly of the Calgary Flames: Games 46-50
Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
10 months ago
Good, bad, and ugly are three great words to describe the last five Calgary Flames games. The Flames were good, if not great, in impressive wins over two of the best teams in the NHL in Tampa Bay and Seattle. They were bad in their win against the Blue Jackets as they did just enough to win that hockey game. And their losses against the Avalanche and Blackhawks were downright ugly. Two of their worst performances of the season.
Let’s breakdown some more storylines from the last 10 days of Flames hockey.
Wins against the Lightning and Kraken
The Calgary Flames looked like an elite team in their wins against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Seattle Kraken. The Flames looked like a team that can win multiple playoff rounds playing that style. They were able to handle the speed and skill of both teams. The penalty kill was outstanding going 11 for 11. They scored 11 goals in those two games. It just seemed like everyone was on the same page, playing near mistake free hockey.
And they won those games a little differently. The Tampa Bay game was a physical, grind it out type of win against an excellent team. The Flames handled Tampa’s size and physicality well. Whereas in Seattle it was more of a speed and skill based game. And the Flames did a great job keeping the Kraken’s transition game in check.
These were two very positive wins that the Flames can build off of in their final 32 games of the season.
Pelletier was finally inserted in the lineup on Jan. 21 against the Tampa Bay Lighting. Quite the opponent for his first NHL game.
Pelletier fit right in. He looked like a NHL player in his debut. He made an immediate impact in his second shift by turning a puck over in the neutral zone, firing a tape to tape pass up the ice, and almost scoring on a rebound.
Pelletier has played in four games so far for the Flames. In those four games among Flames forwards at five on five, Pelletier is second in Corsi For, second in expected goals for, and third in High Danger Chances For. Ridiculous numbers for someone playing their first week in the NHL.
|Pelliter||35:58||68.92% (2nd)||71.09% (2nd)||68.18% (3rd)|
(Jakob Pelletier’s stats and ranking among Flames forwards in the last four games. Courtesy of Natural Stat Trick)
The Fames have found something in Pelletier. I am not sure he is the answer to the hole in their top line. But he can absolutely be someone who can play on their fourth line and add some much needed speed and skill to it.
This has been the best fight of the NHL season.
The Chris Tanev situation
I don’t want to be an alarmist when it comes to Tanev’s shoulder injury, but it is a huge concern for the Flames moving forward. Tanev is by far their best defensive defenceman and penalty killer. He provides leadership on and off the ice and brings a level of calm and steadiness to the back end. When he is out of the lineup, the bottom two defence pairings get thrown out of whack.
It’s clear Tanev hurt his right shoulder against the Blue Jackets. He went off the ice and down the tunnel immediately which is not something you see him do very often. Tanev is one of the toughest players in the NHL when it comes to playing through pain. I really hope the Flames don’t rush him back in the lineup because they are going to need him in the last 15-20 games and potentially the playoffs. Give him the time needs to heal.
Losses to Colorado and Chicago
The two losses to the Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks was some of the worst hockey the Flames have played this season. The most concerning part was the lack of defensive awareness and structure. They gave up way too many high danger chances, especially for a team who prides itself on being a defensive minded group. They also could not generate anything on the offensive side of the puck. Their top players were no where to be found.
The Flames need to figure out who they are before the trade deadline. Are they the team that put up incredible efforts against the Lightning and Kraken? Are they the bad team that got worked by the Avalanche and Blackhawks? Or are they somewhere in between. By guess is that they’re somewhere in between. Is that type of hockey good enough to make the playoffs and win a round or two? Are they in a position where they should be spending futures to acquire rental players at the trade deadline?
So many questions need to be answered over the next few weeks.
That’s it for this edition of the good, bad and ugly. Be sure to check out FlamesNation.ca during the all star break for lots of content to help fill the void of no Flames games for the next week.
Bye for now!
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