Calgary Flames Roundtable: The bye-week blues

SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 12 2018: (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 12 2018: (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /
2 of 5
RALEIGH, NC – JANUARY 14 2018: (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC – JANUARY 14 2018: (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Question one: With how the Calgary Flames have been playing lately, do you think this is something they can keep up for a majority of the season?

Jonathan Boulanger

100% yes. I’m scared big time for how they are gonna play coming out of the five-day break because teams have a tendency to really slip up coming out of it, but they are for real. A great forward group all around, amazing goaltending and a fantastic defence that is playing up to their potential as of late. It’s gonna be a dogfight with the Kings, Ducks and Sharks but they have the team to make the postseason and a go for a deep run.

Ian Gustafson

I think the Flames can stay this consistent if all four lines are being productive or at least three out of the four. Obviously, they won’t be able to keep up the win streak forever. If Mike Smith can continue his impressive play the sky is the limit for this team to finish off the year. A big reason the Flames have been so good lately is the production of the top line. If they can keep it up that will be a big factor.

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

Tom Oppolzer

I definitely think it’s possible. Even before the winning streak, the Flames were playing some really strong hockey mired by some awful luck and facing some really hot goaltenders. They obviously won’t win every game the rest of the way but they’ve put themselves in a really good spot to secure a playoff spot and if they keep playing the way they have all season there’s no reason they shouldn’t get one.

Benjamin Prokopy

Yes, but there a lot of “ifs” attached.

IF the team can continue to produce on the power play, their chances are better.  The man-advantage has been an area of serious concern all season.  During the 7-game streak, and leading up to the bye week, they capitalized on 25% of their power play opportunities.  In all games prior to that, their success rate was near the bottom third of the league at 17.4%.  They’re going in the right direction, but more power play goals are better.

IF they can more successfully kill penalties, they could go on a run.  Leading up to the streak, the Flames successfully killed a basement-dwelling 77.6% of penalties against them.  In the 7 subsequent games, that number shot up to 91%.  Obviously staying out of the box is preferable, but a big PK is crucial to success in the back half of the year.

Finally, IF the Flames can somehow do a better job of suppressing shots, they can keep things up.  Mike Smith and David Rittich have been awesome.  Every fan knows it.  But they need more help from their defenders.  Even during the last 7 games, they faced 248 shots when only 223 went the other way.  It has boggled my mind all season that a team like the Flames, with an embarrassment of riches on the blue line, is allowing this many shots on goal.  Any team would be in trouble if they lost their goaltender to injury.  But with the workload Mike Smith deals with every night, his loss would be devastating to any second half success.

That’s a lot of “ifs”.  And they don’t even take into account the obvious ones like staying healthy and big offense.  But they are necessary if the Flames want to keep it up.

Dan Raicevich

I think they can. This team looks like they are an inspired team after the coach decided to rattle their cage with a stick toss for the ages.

Ramina Shlah

I agree with everyone else here. The Calgary Flames have played good hockey for a majority of the season so far and have played great hockey since December. Like Tomas said, they were even playing really well in December, they just weren’t getting rewarded for it. I think they’ll be as successful this second half of the season as they were last season.