After starting off the season on a 4-1 record, the Flames stumbled the remaining games of their homestand to finish this 5-game segment 1-3-1. The question is – did they deserve it?
To say that the next segment has been a disappointment is an understatement. After roaring out of the gates with 5 wins in 6 games, the Flames stumbled with losses to the Oilers, Kraken, Predators, and Devils. The theme of all these games was timing, as the Calgary Flames didn’t have much of it to show. Poor mistakes cost them the game against the Kraken. And lackluster first periods doomed them against the Predators and Devils. If they want to get back in the win column, the Flames will need to do much better with timing their starts and avoiding costly mistakes.
What makes this worse is that the team definitely deserved to come away with more than one win in this segment. Via expected goal metrics, they had their second and third-best games of the season against the Kraken and Oilers. But they failed to put up the goals to show for it. Costly mistakes ended up in their net and, as a result, what should’ve easily been 4 points turned into 0.
Most Impressive Player – MacKenzie Weegar
How can I pick a player that only has 4 points in 10 games? A lot of fans that would use just points to determine his effectiveness would render him a non-factor. However he’s been the best Flames defenceman through 10 games. In fact, he owns the highest average game score amongst all Calgary Flames players with a 1.07 average. Further, he owns an insane 59 xGF% while on the ice, the highest on the team. Although his play isn’t always noticeable on the ice, in his case it’s a good thing. He’s had an extremely solid start through the first ten games and I’m looking forward to him building on that.
Most Disappointing Player – Andrew Mangiapane
As a huge Mangiapane fan, this one hurts to write. Irrespective, he hasn’t been his usual self all season long. In this past 5 game segment, he finished with one assist, six total shots on goal, and a minus 3. Frankly, I’m not quite sure what the issue seems to be but he just hasn’t been the effective player that we know him to be. Time will tell if it’s from new linemates or what, but he needs to pull himself together. After losing two 40-goal scorers last year, losing a 35-goal scorer in Mangiapane would be disastrous if he can only muster up 20 or less.
Something to look at in his past Flames seasons is that he has always had positive underlying metrics. This year, things look the opposite – he’s been underwater where it matters. And it doesn’t help that his PDO is at rock bottom .922. So not only is he not producing effective 5v5 underlying results, but when the puck comes the other way they’re getting no help from their goalies. Time will tell if Mangiapane can turn it around but in order for the Flames to be successful, they need him to.
The takeaway of the last 5 game segment is that the Flames don’t deserve their 1-3-1 record for this segment for their overall body of work. They weren’t great but weren’t bad either. For certain, they deserved a couple more W’s than they got. That said, they’ve played some terrible periods of hockey – especially the first periods against both NSH and NJ. These performances doomed them from the beginning.
The Flames need to find a way to play 60 minutes again like their first 5-game segment, and they will almost surely win games.
Next 5 Flames Games: Islanders, Devils, Bruins, Jets, Kings