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The good, bad and ugly of the Calgary Flames: Games 56-60

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Photo credit:© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
11 months ago
Would it surprise any Calgary Flames fans that their local hockey heroes finished with a record of 2-2-1 during their last five game segment? A .500 record. The most mediocre record you can have in this league.
Well, it shouldn’t surprise anyone because this has been happening all season with this team. They haven’t won more than three games in a row all year. And haven’t lost more than three in a row since November. They just keep finding a way to hang around the playoff picture on the outside looking in.
This season is starting to ware on the players and the fan base. Something has to change in the final 22 games for this team to make a run at a playoff spot, let alone winning a round.
Anyway, here is the good, bad, and ugly of games 56-60.

The good

Mikael Backlund

Backlund is playing some of the best hockey of his career right now. He has been carrying this Flames team on his back both offensively and defensively. In the last five games, Backlund leads the team in goals, assists and shots on goal. But it wasn’t just this five game segment where he has dominated. He has been doing this for a while.
In Backlund’s last 21 games, he is a point per game player, which is tied for first on the Flames with Tyler Toffoli.
His defensive metrics are even better than his offensive numbers. Here is Backlund’s results since Jan. 5 and his league ranking among 355 forwards to play at least 150 minutes at 5-on-5.
Ice TimeCF%GF-GAxGF%HDCF%
Backlund286:2465.15% (4th)20-10 (44th)65.62% (6th)64.18% (28th)
He’s playing Selke Trophy level hockey right now. Where would the Flames be if Backlund hadn’t stepped up and played at an elite level the last 21 games?

Jakob Pelletier

Pelletier has been a breath of fresh air for the Flames and their fan base. He is doing it both on the ice with his skills, and off the ice with some intangibles. On the ice, Pelletier has injected speed, tenacity, and skill to the Flames top nine forward group. He was a point per game player in his last five games which included back-to-back multi-point games against the Coyotes and Golden Knights.
But more importantly he has given this team a shot of energy and enthusiasm that they have lacked all season.
Pelletier is the only player on the Flames roster who looks like they love playing the game right now. He is one of the only players who ever smiles, celebrates goals with passion, and gets excited when his teammates score goals. The rest of the team is stale and clearly not having any fun. You hope that energy has rubbed off on a few of the veteran players and has added a new, youthful dynamic to the locker room.

Best goals

Beast Mode moments

Best celebration

Have you got enough iron in your diet? 

The bad

Rasmus Andersson returning to the lineup too soon?

Andersson has struggled since returning to the lineup after getting hit by a car in Detroit. In his last five games, the Flames were outscored 7-2 with Andersson on the ice at 5-on-5. He also had an expected goals for percentage under 50% (47.92%) which is unlike the Flames best defenceman.
But that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Andersson’s accident was a traumatic experience for him and his family. “It was a tough couple days there. Especially because I don’t really know what happened still. You’re on your way to one place and then you wake up in an ambulance” said Andersson about the incident. “It was obviously scary and traumatic… I was in an MRI machine before I could even say what my name was.”
You can’t help but wonder if the Flames and Andersson jumped the gun on getting back into the lineup. This sounded like an extremely serious incident Andersson went through. Should he have been back playing NHL hockey only eight days after what he went through? He was cleared by the medical team on Feb. 15. But I wonder if he needed more time to heal both physically and mentally.
(Fast forward to the 2:43 mark of the interview)

The ugly

Goaltending

Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar have are a major reason why the Flames sit 10th in the Western Conference in points percentage as of Feb. 27. And it’s both guys that are hurting the team. I know the fan base has given Vladar the benefit of the doubt this season, but his numbers aren’t much better than Markstrom’s.
Since the all star break the Flames rank dead last in the NHL in save percentage. No team can make the playoffs with goaltending numbers like that.
When was the last time a Flames goaltender stole a game for this team? I think you’d have to go all the way back to October 25 when Markstrom made 32 saves in a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Flames goaltenders have allowed one goal only five times this season. They are also only one of four teams to not record a shut out this season (The others being Edmonton, Vancouver and Columbus).
If the mandate from ownership is to make the playoffs at all costs, then you have to wonder if we are going to see a trade or a recall of Dustin Wolf. I personally think both are bad options at this point in time. But desperate times call for desperate measures. You never know what can happen.
That’s it for the good, bad, and ugly this week. Let us know your thoughts on the Flames last five games in the comments section!
(All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick)

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