Lastly, the Calgary Flames have discovered some consistency.
Not in a great way, nonetheless.
In every of their final six losses the Flames have scored only one objective. No extra, no much less.
It’s a steadiness no one is speaking about, as the main focus has been on defensive lapses, giveaways, dangerous begins, work ethic points and, um, what had been we speaking about once more?
Oh yeah, targets.
Buried in a mountain of criticism and finger pointing in Calgary is a scoring challenge for a crew that by no means envisioned struggling this manner.
It’s notably troubling whenever you’re housed within the NHL’s highest-scoring division.
Canada’s Group of Seven is averaging 6.4 targets a recreation, a price the NHL hasn’t seen league-wide since 1993-94.
One objective a recreation isn’t going to chop it.
The highest 4 groups within the North Division all sit top-seven within the NHL’s scoring ranks, whereas Calgary sits 17 locations decrease than Montreal, in twenty fourth at 2.50 targets a recreation.
The Oilers and Leafs have scored over a objective extra per recreation this yr than a Flames membership that has struggled lately towards the likes of Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa, none of that are referred to as stellar defensive squads.
The 4 most important objective scorers on the Flames roster all must be higher, as the person main the way in which of late is Andrew Mangiapane, who has scored the third-most targets within the NHL within the month of February.
It speaks to the crew’s depth points up entrance – one thing that was alleged to be this crew’s power.
The third and fourth traces have struggled to seek out chemistry, and the web.
This isn’t a four-line hockey membership, because the coach repeatedly trumpets.
It is a three-line crew with a handful of extras bouncing out and in of the lineup.
Free agent signings Josh Leivo and Dominik Simon have but to attain a objective or present any indicators of becoming in as top-nine regulars.
It places extra strain on the highest weapons like Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm to supply as they did early on.
Of late, everybody has been silent.
The Flames have eight targets of their final six outings, three of which had been energy play markers.
The fixed shuffling of traces hasn’t helped, however that’s a rooster and egg debate.
The coach didn’t low cost the potential of beginning Saturday’s recreation with final yr’s acquainted high six lineup, placing Lindholm again alongside Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, whereas Backlund centres Matthew Tkachuk and Mangiapane.
That is how they completed on Thursday.
“In my view we’re not having the puck sufficient,” mentioned captain Mark Giordano, whose membership has been outscored considerably by each Canadian crew in 5-on-5 this yr.
“We’re getting an opportunity up the frenzy after which it’s out straight away. For the final little bit, we’ve defended fairly a bit. There’s actually not a lot left within the impartial zone. You’ve received to get the puck behind their defence and construct a shift from there. As soon as we construct that mindset and get it in there, we’ll be positive.”
Their incapacity to generate up entrance has led to infinite first interval deficits, which in the end results in the crew giving up on nights like Thursday’s 6-1 shellacking in Ottawa the place the gamers primarily admitted afterwards that they had run out of fuel and hope after taking place 4-1.
In previous years the Flames had been armed with the offence and perception they might come again.
Unsurprisingly, the fragility of this group was a giant subject after Friday’s follow.
“I feel we’ve got a number of highs and lows as a substitute of staying even keel all through the sport,” Chris Tanev mentioned.
“Once we’re going good we really feel like we’re on high of the world, after which the opposite crew scores and we really feel the world is ending. It’s one thing we undoubtedly have to work on. It’s a psychological factor clearly. We’ve received to speak to one another and be constructive.”
And begin scoring some targets.
NOTES: The Flames gave David Rittich the time off on Friday after enjoying 4 instances within the final six nights. He’ll undoubtedly get his fourth-straight begin on Saturday (11 a.m. MT) as Jacob Markstrom isn’t eligible to return off injured reserve till Sunday. Markstrom skated on his personal on Friday as he fights to bounce again from an higher physique damage.