The Calgary Flames will play three games this week before having a three-day break for Christmas. What’s coming up this week for this team?
The Calgary Flames begin a two-game road trip starting Monday December 19th. They’ll play the Arizona Coyotes and the San Jose Sharks in back to back games on Monday and Tuesday. Then they’ll come home to face the Vancouver Canucks on Friday, December 23rd.
The Flames have already faced these three teams at some point this season. So let’s take a look at what happened in those games and see what’s in store for the team in their meetings this week.
Dec 8, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Calgary Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton (27) celebrates with center Mikael Backlund (11) and right wing Michael Frolik (67) after scoring a goal in overtime to defeat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Monday December 19th – CGY @ ARI
This will be the third of five meetings between these two clubs. In the first two games, the score was identical. The Calgary Flames beat the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 2-1 in OT in both meetings. In the first game on November 16th, that was the first game that Johnny Gaudreau didn’t play this season because of injury. However, the Flames still managed to walk away with two points thanks to an overtime goal by Michael Frolik.
Both games weren’t exactly the best of wins for the team. But, a win is still a win. But winning just 2-1 in OT against the second worst team in the NHL right now won’t exactly boost your confidence.
In the last two games, the Flames have managed to kill off all six power plays by the Coyotes. They have scored just one PP goal on their seven opportunities, but in their first meeting, that was when the Flames were still quite horrible with their special teams. Right now, the Flames have scored at least one PPG in their last seven games. With the second game vs the Coyotes being included in those seven games.
In December, the Flames are 5-2-0 and the Coyotes are 3-5-2. Also in December, the Flames and Coyotes have pretty similar PK numbers, but the Flames PP is doing much better, with them being first in the league in December. The Flames however have allowed two shorthanded goals in their last two games. If the Flames can manage to capitalize on the PP and keep their discipline in check, I’m confident they’ll walk away with the two wins. Even if it has to go to OT.
Nov 3, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Calgary Flames goalie Chad Johnson (31) makes a save against San Jose Sharks center Tommy Wingels (57) during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
The Calgary Flames will play their second game in as many nights in San Jose. The Flames this season so far are 2-2-2 when playing the second game in as many nights, so really, this could go either way for the team.
An advantage for the Flames is that they’re tied for third most amount of road wins in the NHL. Going 9-6-2, they’re fourth for highest amount of points on the road. In the Western conference, they’re first. But then the Sharks also have an advantage. They have the best home record in the Western conference going 10-4-0.
The Sharks have won four of their last five and are 5-3-0 in December. In the first meeting between the two teams, the Flames won 3-2 with a late third period goal by Matthew Tkachuk. The Sharks right now are first in the Pacific Division and at the time of the first game, they were second.
In the first meeting, the Flames went 0/2 on the PP and the Sharks went 0/5. The Sharks aren’t doing too well on the PP this season either, being 17.5%, 0.5% better than the Flames. Their PK is looking much better than the Flames, with it at 82.1%. This one might be a tricky game for the Flames. If they don’t let the Sharks amazing home record phase them, they’ll be alright. They just can’t play the way they’ve been playing their last couple of games or they won’t walk away with any points. If they can capitalize on the PP like they’ve been doing for seven straight games, it’s a hopeful sign.
Oct 15, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Derek Dorsett (15) and Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett (93) fight in front of the Calgary Flames goal during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Friday December 23rd – VAN @ CGY
Every time these two teams play, I get flashbacks to the line brawl that happened two seconds into the game in 2014.
The Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks will have their second meeting of the season before their holidays. They haven’t seen each other in over two months when the Flames lost 2-1 in a shootout and the Flames were 0-3-0 to start the season. Even the lone goal the Flames had wasn’t really a goal. The Canucks ended up scoring on their own net when the Flames had a delayed penalty. I mean, that’s always fun to see, especially if it’s in favor of your team. But you’ve got to feel for them, especially since this same thing happened to the Flames, against the Canucks too might I add, a couple seasons ago.
Since that initial meeting, the Flames are now 16-13-1 and the Canucks are 12-16-3. The Canucks right now have the third worst goal differential in the league, being at -20. In December, the Canucks are 3-5-1 over the Flames 5-2-0. Like the Flames, the Canucks are also struggling with their special teams. Again like many games, this will probably be a battle of the special teams. If one of these teams is able to capitalize on the PP, my guess is that team will be the one that walks away with the two points.
And hey, let’s all cross our fingers that the Canucks score on their own net again.
Well, there you have it. A preview of the week before the holidays. If the Flames can come out with at least four of six points, that’ll be a successful week and it’ll add on to their already successful month.