The Calgary Flames goaltending hasn’t been as good in the new year than it has been earlier on this season. So the Flames management and coaching staff have decided to turn to a new method.
In the last month, the Calgary Flames goaltending has been somewhat of a travesty. Since the start of the new year, Chad Johnson is 3-4-0 and Brian Elliott is 2-3-1. Not exactly the start to the year the team was hoping for, especially after a successful December where there was a huge chance on making the playoffs.
Throughout most of the season, the Flames were turning mainly to Chad Johnson for between the crease. He was much more consistent than Brian Elliott and was there to bail the team out when they needed him. From the start of the season until the end of 2016, Johnson went 13-8-1, had a save percentage of 0.920% and GAA of 2.34. He also had three shutouts.
Elliott on the other hand in that time frame went 7-9-1, had a save percentage of 0.893, and GAA of 3.00.
However now in January, the Flames don’t really have any goaltender they want to turn to. Johnson’s SV% is 0.887 and Elliott’s SV% is 0.892 since the start of January. And because of this, the Flames are 5-7-1. They may be in a wildcard playoff position right now, but they have a few games on hand over the teams behind them. So really, points-percentage wise, they’re on the outside of this group.
So what needs to be done?
Because of this, the Flames need to make a change. And with a short break from the All-Star weekend, it’s a perfect time to brainstorm and to bring in something new. Now the Flames coaching staff decided to go with the win-and-start method. Basically, if you win, you get to start the next game.
Simple as that.
Head coach Glen Gulutzan says that it puts a good amount of pressure on both net-minders and brings out some healthy competition.
“Both guys, I know, can handle pressure. I’ve done that before in teams that I’ve coached where I’ve had two good goalies, and they like to push each other for it. I think that’s a good thing for our group right now.”
How do the goalies feel about this?
The goalies think it’s a great method. Nobody in this case can really put as much pressure on you than you would on yourself.
Brian Elliott told Calgary Sun earlier today:
“That’s what this league is all about, really — you have to perform to be able to play. Anytime we get in there, you want to get that win. And when you’re not in there, you want the guys to do the best they can. You put more pressure on yourself than anybody else can put on you, so it’s no change in mindset for us. It’s just go out there and perform.”
The other Flames net-minder, Chad Johnson, also talked to Calgary Sun:
“My mindset, it’s not going to change. I’m not going to be thinking, ‘Oh my God, I have to win or I’m not going to play again for who knows how long.’ You’re not being productive if you’re thinking that way. But you use it for motivation.”
Because of Elliott’s impressive win against the Ottawa Senators before the All-Star break where he stopped 25 of 27 shots and helped his team to a 3-2 OT win, which was their first win in five games, he gets the start in Wednesday’s game.
Hopefully with this new method, it’ll be what this team needs to get out and make 2017 a better year than 2016.