The good, bad and ugly of the Calgary Flames: Games 51-55
Photo credit:© Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
7 months ago
A common theme in my Good, Bad and Ugly articles this season has been around the idea that this season has been an intense ride on the emotional roller coaster that is Calgary Flames hockey. This stretch of five games was no different.
The Flames finished with a record of 1-2-2 which included a couple good efforts against the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres. It also featured two brutal efforts against the Detroit Red Wings. And to top it all off, they had the most devastating loss of the season against the Ottawa Senators blowing a two goal lead with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
This has been one of the most frustrating, up and down seasons I can remember. This latest five game segment was no different.
Let’s dive into the good, bad and ugly.
Dube is one of the streakier players in the NHL from a production standpoint. As of right now, he is riding an absolute heater. Dube has seven points in his last five games which includes a team leading four goals. This has been one of the more impressive stretches of games from Dube in his career. He is playing with a ton of speed, skill, energy and confidence. He has also found a solid connection with his linemates Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli.
The Dube-Lindholm-Toffoli line has been a great fit since being put together by Darryl Sutter. They have outscored their opposition 19-13 at 5-on-5, and have put up a 57.77% shot share.
However, the one negative thing about the line, and it’s not just the line it’s the team as a whole, is that they don’t do a great job generating high danger scoring chances. The Dube line has a HDCF% of 44.44%. They’ve been out chanced in the high danger area of the ice 55-44 at 5-on-5. But in the grand scheme of things all that matters is the goal share, which they are dominating.
One thing you have to give the Flames credit for not only during this five game stretch, but the entire season, is suppressing shots. The Flames do an excellent job at limiting opposing scoring chances and shot generation.
In four of the last five games, the Flames held their opponents to 25 or few shots on goal. The only exception being the Ranger game where they gave up 33 shots. If you look at the entire season at 5-on-5, the Flames rank second in CA/60 (49.92), fourth in SCA/60 (26.26), fifth in xGA/60 (2.37), and fifth in HDCA/60 (10.79).
This is an elite team in suppressing shots and scoring chances against. Unfortunately, their goaltending has let them down all season. To the point where it might cost them a playoff appearance.
I bit my tongue, Rick
Record against “bad” teams
The Flames are now a ghastly 8-6-6 against the bottom 11 teams in the NHL this season. Eight wins and twelve losses. That is unacceptable for a middle of the pack team like the Flames. They need to take advantage of these games against lesser competition so they can have some flexibility when playing against the top teams in the league.
They have now lost games to Columbus, Montreal, Detroit, Chicago, St Louis, Buffalo, Nashville, and Ottawa.
Losing more games than you win to the teams listed above could be the main ingredient in the recipe for the Flames to miss the playoffs.
The entertainment factor
I’ve written about this in a previous Good, Bad, and Ugly. And I had to bring it up again this time because Flames fans are sick and tired of watching a boring hockey team. This has been happening all season, and it became an issue again, predominantly in the Flames two losses to the Detroit Red Wings.
Both games lacked emotion, physicality, speed, and creativity. It was bland, boring hockey. Something that has become the norm far too often with this organization. You could make the argument that since the 2004-05 lockout, the Flames have iced a truly entertaining team in four or five of those seasons (2006-07, 2007-08, 2014-15, 2018-19, and 2021-22). This season is looking like it’s going to be another snooze-fest for the fan base.
The narrative/energy surrounding the team
There seems to be something wrong with the Flames organization right now. It’s clear the team on the ice is having no fun. How often do you see them with a big celebration after a goal? How often do you see the guys on the team smile? How often do you see an upbeat scrum or press conference from the players? It’s clear that this team is not having any fun.
Multiple plugged in people in the hockey world have now brought this up in the mainstream media.
David Pagnotta from The Fourth Period has reported that the Flames are a “hot mess”.
Elliotte Friedman said today “we all know something is wrong there.” He’s insinuated that Darryl Sutter’s demanding coaching tactics are wearing thin on the roster.
On top of all that, Jonathan Huberdeau’s agent, Allan Walsh, dropped a twitter bomb on Flames fans after a brutal 5-2 loss to Detroit.
Based on everything that’s out there, the vibes are off in Calgary. The organization is not happy. The players aren’t happy. The fans are definitely not happy.
The vibe and the energy around this team is off. There are going to need to be significant changes to the organization on and off the ice to regain the trust of the loyal Flames fan base.
What did you think of the last five games played by the Flames? Let us know in the comments section!
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