The Calgary Flames are in the midst of a losing streak. One of their longest-ever, in fact. But as we await Saturday night’s game with the Winnipeg Jets, let’s look back at the previous long losing skids for the Flames.
How did they unfold? Who stood out? And how did the streaks finally, mercifully, end?
1985-86 – 11 games
Games 29-39; Dec. 14, 1985-Jan. 7, 1986
Over the 11 games, the Flames were out-scored 59-35, their power play converted on 10% of their advantages and their penalty kill was successful 89.3% of the time. During the streak, zero Flames had positive plus/minus ratings – Hakan Loob was even, but that’s it – and Reggie Lemelin was the goalie of record for nine of the 11 losses.
- Loss 1: 4-3 to Vancouver; Thomas Gradin scored in the third period to break the tie.
- Loss 2: 4-3 to Pittsburgh; Calgary trailed 4-0 at one point, couldn’t come all the way back.
- Loss 3: 4-3 to Hartford; Calgary led 3-1 in early third, gave up three goals in 3:55.
- Loss 4: 5-3 to St. Louis; Calgary trailed 3-0, clawed it back to 3-2 but couldn’t get closer.
- Loss 5: 5-4 to Chicago (in overtime); back and forth game, Chicago tied game midway through third and won in OT.
- Loss 6: 6-5 to Philadelphia: Calgary trailed 4-0 at one point, then rallied back to tie it, but Ron Sutter scored winner midway through third.
- Loss 7: 6-3 to Minnesota: Calgary led 3-2 in early second, then North Stars scored four unanswered goals.
- Loss 8: 4-3 to Edmonton: Calgary trailed 3-0 and 4-1, but couldn’t claw all the way back.
- Loss 9: 6-5 to Montreal: back and forth game, Calgary tied it up in early third but Bob Gainey scored winner a couple minutes later.
- Loss 10: 6-3 to Edmonton (again): Edmonton scored 14 seconds in and led 4-1 at end of the first period, Flames couldn’t get back into it.
- Loss 11: 9-1 to Hartford (again): Calgary gave up two in the first, three in the second and four in the third.
This streak finally ended two nights after that butt-kicking from the Whalers, as the Flames managed to beat Vancouver in a back-and-forth game. Jim Peplinski scored 13 seconds into overtime to snap the longest losing skid in franchise history.
1974-75 – 8 games
Games 26-33; Dec. 2-17, 1974
Over the eight games, Atlanta was out-scored 35-18. During the streak, zero Flames had positive plus/minus ratings – Bryan Hextall Jr. and Bob Murray were even – and goalies Dan Bouchard and Phil Myre evenly split the eight losses between them (four apiece).
- Loss 1: 2-0 to Montreal: Larry Robinson scored twice.
- Loss 2: 3-1 to California: the Seals pulled away after an even first period.
- Loss 3: 7-5 to Vancouver: Atlanta led 4-1 at one point, then Vancouver rattled off a bunch of goals in the second half of the game.
- Loss 4: 6-2 to Los Angeles: the Flames chased the entire time and weren’t really in this one.
- Loss 5: 5-2 to Chicago: the Black Hawks pulled away after an even first period.
- Loss 6: 3-2 to Philadelphia: the Flyers scored in the third to win a tight game.
- Loss 7: 4-2 to Toronto: the Flames chased the entire time and weren’t really in this one.
- Loss 8: 5-3 to Boston: the Flames chased the entire time and weren’t really in this one.
The Flames snapped the losing skid with a 6-2 win over St. Louis, rattling off six unanswered goals to win it.
1998-99 – 8 games
Games 32-39; Dec. 22, 1998-Jan. 5, 1999
Over the eight games, the Flames were out-scored 35-13, converted on 10.5% of their power plays, and killed off just 72.4% of opposition man advantages. During the streak, zero Flames had positive plus/minus ratings – Michael Nylander was even, but that’s it – and the Flames had three goalies take credit for multiple losses in Andrei Trefilov (three), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (three) and Tyrone Garner.
- Loss 1: 5-3 to Vancouver: a back and forth game, with Vancouver pulling away in the third period.
- Loss 2: 5-2 to Vancouver (again): the Flames chased the entire time and weren’t really in this one.
- Loss 3: 2-1 to Colorado: a tight game where Colorado was just a little bit better.
- Loss 4: 4-3 to Philadelphia (in overtime): the Flames led 2-0 and 3-1, but the Flyers scored twice to force overtime before Valeri Zelepukin won it.
- Loss 5: 2-1 to Montreal: a tight game where Montreal was just a little bit better.
- Loss 6: 7-1 to Buffalo: Jarome Iginla scored in the third to avoid a shutout. Otherwise, woof.
- Loss 7: 5-1 to Boston: the Flames chased the entire time and weren’t really in this one.
- Loss 8: 5-1 to Pittsburgh: a tight game until the third, where the Penguins scored four unanswered goals to win it.
The streak was snapped in Fred Brathwaite’s club debut via a 1-0 win over Dallas.
2014-15 – 8 games
Games 28-35; Dec. 6-20, 2014
Over the seven games, the Flames were out-scored 26-13, converted on 10.3% of their power plays and killed off 81.8% of opponent power plays. Deryk Engelland led the team with a +1 rating, and Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo shared the net. (Hiller posted a .921 save percentage across five losses.)
- Loss 1: 3-2 to San Jose: a back and forth game, with Patrick Marleau scored the game-winner in the third.
- Loss 2: 4-1 to Toronto: the Flames never really got going, giving up goals in every period.
- Loss 3: 4-3 to Buffalo: the Flames led 3-2 early in the third period, but Buffalo scored twice to win.
- Loss 4: 3-1 to Pittsburgh: a fairly tight game where the Flames were constantly chasing.
- Loss 5: 2-1 to Chicago: another tight game, with Chicago scoring in the third to win it.
- Loss 6: 5-2 to NY Rangers: Calgary trailed 4-0 at one point and never really got into this game.
- Loss 7: 2-1 to Dallas: another tight game, with all the goals being scored in the second period.
- Loss 8: 3-2 to Vancouver (in overtime): the Flames trailed 2-0 but rallied back to force overtime, only to lose via a Chris Tanev goal.
The Flames beat the Kings in overtime on Dec. 22 to break the streak. Johnny Gaudreau scored a hat trick to force overtime.
2017-18 – 7 games
Games 72-78; Mar. 16-29, 2018
This was a death march. Already out of the playoffs, the Flames were out-scored 33-8, converted on 0% of their power plays and killed off 70.6% of opponent power plays. Matt Stajan was the only plus player (+2), nobody scored more than one goal, and the losses were split between goalies Mike Smith (five), David Rittich (one) and Jon Gillies (one).
- Loss 1: 7-4 to San Jose: the Flames had no answer for Evander Kane and his four goals.
- Loss 2: 4-0 to Vegas: William Karlsson had a natural hat trick in the second period, while the Flames scored zero goals.
- Loss 3: 5-2 to Arizona: after an even first two periods, the Coyotes scored three in the third period.
- Loss 4: 4-0 to Anaheim: the Flames couldn’t get anything going offensively. (Again.)
- Loss 5: 5-1 to San Jose (again): this time Kane only scored twice, so that’s progress.
- Loss 6: 3-0 to Los Angeles: the Flames were fairly sharp at even strength, but gave up three power play goals to the Kings.
- Loss 7: 5-1 to Columbus: the moral victory was Chris Stewart scoring late to avoid the Flames getting shut out.
The Flames beat Edmonton on March 31 to break the streak, but then lost two of their final three games to close out the season. Glen Gulutzan was replaced as head coach soon thereafter.