The Calgary Flames started the season red hot, putting up a 15-4-5 record in their first 24 games. That 0.729 winning percentage was good for fifth in the NHL.
Since then, the Flames have gone 2-7-1 in 10 games, with the early season blaze dwindling into a mere flicker. What’s behind the Jekyll and Hyde dichotomy and which version of the Flames is for real?
Let’s dig into some numbers from Natural Stat Trick to find out.
The Flames were the league’s best teams at 5v5 in the early part of the season. In their first 24 games, they ranked first in the NHL in 5v5 GF%. There were plenty of feel-good stories, like Andrew Mangiapane’s goal-scoring tear, the emergence of Oliver Kylington, and Jacob Markstrom’s mounting number of shutouts.
Yet there were signs the early success wasn’t sustainable.
So which team is the real version of the 2021-2022 Flames?
Their early season success was driven by solid offensive output, along with strong team defence and stellar, yet unsustainable goaltending.
Their recent struggles are driven by a lack of poor finishing, headlined by a palpable lack of secondary scoring, and subpar goaltending.
There’s also the Flames’ recent inferior collective defensive performances to consider. Even with a string of disappointing recent results, it’s not yet time to panic, but it’s clear there’s a cavernous warehouse of room to improve before this team can be considered an elite Western Conference team.