Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The good, bad and ugly of the Calgary Flames: Games 66-70
11 months ago
The last five game stretch was eerily similar to many other stretches of games we’ve seen this season from the Calgary Flames. We got incredible performances in wins against the Senators and Golden Knights. We watched very disappointing efforts against bad teams in the Ducks and Coyotes. And the cherry on top was their performance against the Stars on Saturday night where they out-shot Dallas by 12, hit four posts, and lost the game in overtime.
Everything we have been watching all season wrapped up into one five game segment.
Let’s dive into the good, bad, and ugly.
Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev
The Flames top four defence has improved since Darryl Sutter mixed up the pairings. Since being put together, Hanifin and Tanev have been rock solid together. That shouldn’t surprise anyone as these two players were great together in the 2021 bubble season.
|55 & 8
(Hanifin and Tanev’s numbers as a pairing this season)
From an eye test perspective, Hanifin and Tanev seem to be a great pair because they compliment each others game so well. Tanev is the defensively responsible, stay at home, steadying presence that allows a player like Hanifin to utilize his offensive skillset more than when he is playing with someone else. Hanifin has the potential to be a valuable offensive player when playing with someone like Tanev, because of his high-end ability to skate and move the puck. Hanifin can take a few more risks knowing Tanev is going to have his back. This pair works great together and will likely stay together for the remainder of the season.
Jacob Markstrom has finally got back to being the goalie we all know and love. He has started eight straight games for the Flames posting a record of 4-3-2. He is back to being a steady presence in the Flames crease. Markstrom looks like he is playing a more passive game and is doing a good job containing his emotions.
(Markstrom’s numbers from Mar. 1-17)
Markstrom gets in trouble when his movements in the crease get too aggressive. He also tends to struggle when he lets his emotions get the best of him. Whether that’s screaming at referees after goals or getting in the face of opposing players. It usually throws him off his game. But you’re not seeing much of those two things in his game right now. He looks like he is dialed in and supremely focused.
Let’s also give a shout-out to Calgary Wranglers goalie Dustin Wolf. He has been the best goalie in the AHL the last two seasons, and you could make the argument that he has been the best player in the AHL during that time.
Wolf is first in the AHL in virtually every statistical category. He leads the AHL in wins, shutouts, goals against average, save percentage, games played, minutes played, and shots faced. He is having a remarkable season and has established himself as the Flames best prospect.
Best bounce of the season
Best example of skating down the right side
Sweet, sweet revenge
It sucks to put Kadri in the bad category this week. You can tell he is working hard and that he cares about his team and teammates. But unfortunately, the one ice results have not been good for some time.
Kadri has been struggling mightily since the all-star break, but this last five game segment has been the most alarming part of his play. Since the all-star break Kadri has only scored two goals in 20 games. It’s not from a lack of trying as he is third on the Flames in shots on goal and shot attempts in that time.
The eye test would indicate that he is struggling as well. It looks like Kadri is trying to do too much on his own right now. Whether it’s holding on to the puck for too long or turning the puck over far too often. It’s clear Kadri is not playing at an optimal level. Darryl Sutter has recognized that as well as he demoted Kadri to the bottom two forward lines.
One element that is missing from his game all season is the intensity and reputation for being a bleep disturber. A lot of people expected Kadri to replace that aspect of Matthew Tkachuk’s game, but we haven’t seen that at all this season. It would be great for Kadri to be one of those players who stirs the pot and drags his team into the fight like Tkachuk had done in Calgary for years.
The Flames’ inconsistency
The inconsistent nature of the Calgary Flames this season has been exhausting for the fan base. One game they look like they could be a legitimate playoff team that could do some damage. The next they look like a team that should be competing in the tank-a-thon for Connor Bedard.
That inconsistency reared it’s ugly head once again in this five-game segment. The Flames play two great games against the Ottawa Senators and Vegas Golden Knights where they score twelve goals and allow three. And then they lose two games to two of the worst teams in the NHL in Anaheim and Arizona, where they put out a couple lifeless, embarrassing performances.
The Flames are the most difficult team to figure out in the NHL. Who are they? Which team are we going to get on any given night? The fact that we can’t answer those questions heading into the final 12 games of the season is very concerning. Yet here we are, just four points out of a playoff spot. It’s a minor miracle that the Flames are still in the hunt for a spot in the post season.
That does it for this edition of the Good, Bad, and Ugly. let us know what you thought of the Flames latest five game segment in the comments section!
(All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick)
Recent articles from Robert Munnich