Calgary Flames: How they can get one back vs. New York Islanders

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: John Gilmour
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: John Gilmour /

After a disappointing loss to the New York Rangers where the Calgary Flames had a chance to make it a four-game win streak, here’s how they can get back in it tonight vs. the New York Islanders.

The Calgary Flames had a rough game on Friday night. In a chance to make it a four-game win streak against a battered New York Rangers team, they could barely show up. They weren’t there at all in the first period, and with leading after the second period, they decided to barely show up in the third either.

But today’s a new game and they’re all aware that they didn’t show up on Friday. Here’s how they can get one back tonight vs. the New York Islanders.

Special teams

I feel like I’m becoming a broke record by constantly repeating this. But special teams have been costing the Calgary Flames their games. Against the Rangers, they were 1/6 on the PP and the Rangers had two PP goals on just five opportunities.

I will say that the Flames powerplay looked much better with Dougie Hamilton on the first PP unit. With Sean Monahan taking the faceoff, if he can win the faceoff and the Flames can set up right away, get the puck to Dougie, plant Matthew Tkachuk in front of the net, and they may be able to finally score more than just one PP goal in a game.

The Islanders on the other hand have no problem scoring PP goals. Against the Detroit Red Wings the other night, they were down 3-0 in the first period. Then they were down 5-2. Then the Red Wings took a five-minute penalty and the Islanders got a full five-minute powerplay. They scored four goals and won the game in overtime.

They have seven PP goals in just four games in February. The Flames need to be aggressive on the PK and stop players around the net. They let the Rangers get too many chances, especially right around the net.

The Flames also need to try and remain disciplined while we’re on this subject. And you know.. maybe not get a five-minute penalty where they let Mathew Barzal get five assists in one game… just a thought.

Top line to keep acting like the top line

The Calgary Flames top line has been getting back to their regular selves. Especially Johnny Gaudreau, who’s on a five-game point streak with eight points in that stretch. He has now sneakily climbed his way back up in the points race and has 65 points in 55 games – tied for second place in the NHL and just four points back from first.

They’ve been getting lots of chances lately and have been all over the net. However, vs. the Rangers, they didn’t get any goals. Albeit, they were on the ice for two of the Flames goals and helped with those, it’d be nice for them to score too. Let’s maybe get some more GWG for Sean Monahan.

Related Story: Flames win second on the road in New Jersey

Play a full 60

Again, like last time, you’d think this would be obvious. The Calgary Flames will either be completely non-existent in the first period, or they’ll have a lead and not show up for the third period. And again, it’s been costing them games.

The Flames were lucky to get out of New Jersey with a win when they obliterated in the third period after getting a lead. And against the Rangers, they didn’t show up basically all period. They got a goal in the last two minutes of the period with a lucky breakaway and were lucky to be tied after the first. But otherwise, they didn’t show up in the first period and they didn’t show up in the third until about halfway through.

That also has to do with them taking too many unnecessary penalties and having to spend a good few minutes in a period just killing it off. But the Flames need to stop playing only 40 minutes a night. It isn’t working.

Fourth line to keep up the forecheck

The Calgary Flames fourth line has actually been quite good recently. With Matt Stajan, Curtis Lazar, and Ryan Lomberg, the projected lineups haven’t been posted yet, but we’ll most likely see Lomberg in again. In his first three minutes of the game last game, he got his first NHL point and drew a penalty. Head coach Glen Gulutzan has liked what Lomberg has brought to the team, claiming he brings lots of energy.

Via Calgary Flames:

"“Just energy,” answered Gulutzan after the team’s morning skate ahead of Sunday night’s game against the Islanders. “Energy. He’s in the fabric of the game, he’s always positive. He has a lot of energy and it’s an infectious kind of energy, right, it’s on the bench, it’s out on the ice. He’s given us a good shot in the arm.”"

Curtis Lazar also finally got his first goal of the season on a breakaway, which was fed to him from Lomberg. And Stajan in general has been decent the last couple of weeks. If the fourth line can keep up their good and aggressive forecheck and take the pucks away in the neutral zone, that’s all we can ask from them in limited minutes.

Next: Flames lose to a battered New York Rangers team

Let’s hope the Flames can get the W tonight. With a San Jose win last night, the Flames are back in climbing their way back up mode. And to make it worse, they’re tied with the Anaheim Ducks in points too.