We’re starting the third week of the New Year. 2017 hasn’t been the nicest to the Calgary Flames lately. Let’s see what’s happening this week.
The Calgary Flames will play in three fun games this week. Why I say they’re fun is because they actually have a decent chance in winning all three of these games and they’re all on home-ice.
They’re start off on Tuesday January 17th against the Florida Panthers. Then they’ll play on Thursday January 19th against the Nashville Predators. They’ll then finish off their week with a Battle of Alberta on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night.
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Like most of the Flames games, whether they walk away with two points or not could very well depend on their special teams.
The Panthers right now have won three of their last five and are 4-3-0 in 2017. Slightly better than the Flames lately who are 3-3-1 in 2017. But good news for the Flames is that they’ve won four of their last five games on home-ice. However, the Panthers have won their last four games on the road and are coming off of a win against one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Panthers aren’t the best on the power-play, being 24th overall with 14.9%. This is versus the Flames 20.3% PP. On top of that since the start of December, the Flames are first overall on the PP with 31.9% versus the Panthers 14.9%. In the new year, the Panthers are at a mere 8.9% on the PP. So if the Flames can keep their penalty killing in check like they’ve been doing as of late, they could walk away with the two points.
Even though the Flames’ PP is good, it’s going against one of the best PK teams in the league this season. So the Flames need to find some way to capitalize with the man advantage.
Players to watch on the Panthers:
Vincent Trocheck: Currently on a four-game point streak with seven points in that stretch.
Jaromir Jagr: For the sole reason that he is 44 years old and I love his mullet
Players to watch on the Flames:
Sam Bennett: Is currently on a scoring drought, but had a four-goal game the last time the Panthers were in town
If the Flames can get some help with secondary scoring by Sam Bennett in this game, they’ll be fine.
The Calgary Flames will continue their home stance against the Nashville Predators on Thursday. The Flames right now are 23-20-3 versus the Preds 20-16-7. The Preds are have 47 points compared to the Flames 49 points, however the Flames have a few games on hand on the Preds. So really, the Preds are in a playoff spot, points-percentage wise, while the Flames are one spot out.
The Predators right now have won their last three games and are 4-2-1 in 2017.
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The Predators aren’t doing much worse than the Flames on the PP over the year. However since the start of December, they’re only 11.5% versus the Flames 31.9%. The Predators haven’t scored a power-play goal in their last five games and only have a 5.0% PP success rate in the New Year.
They’re also doing quite decent on the PK with 82.7% overall and 90.5% in the New Year.
The last time the Flames and Predators met which was last season, the Flames won 3-2 in overtime. But these are now two different teams so who knows what the outcome will be.
This game will be a bit of a challenge for the Flames because this is almost like a playoff game in a sense. However if they can take advantage of the Preds’ low PP success rate and not let them get PP opportunities, they could walk away with two points. Even if it has to go to OT.
In the first three match-ups, the Flames were shorthanded a total of 12 times and allowed four goals on those 12 times. They had the man advantage nine times and only managed to take advantage once. They did, however, in the first meeting which was the season-opener, score two short-handed goals.
The Flames have gotten drastically better on the PP and PK since the start of the season. In the New Year for the Oilers however, their special teams aren’t doing too great. Since the start of January, they’re only 11.8% on the PP and only have a 75.0% penalty-killing success rate. If the Flames can stay disciplined and not let Connor McDavid get any breakaways, maybe they can hopefully win their first Battle of Alberta this season.
Players to watch on the Oilers:
Leon Draisaitl: Has four points in his last three games including a shootout goal.
Patrick Maroon: Has 18 goals on the season, six of them coming in the New Year.
Players to watch on the Flames:
Sean Monahan: Has goals in two straight games against the Oilers.
Dougie Hamilton: Currently on a three-game point streak with four points in that stretch.
Matthew Tkachuk: Maybe he’ll finally keep his mouth-guard in his mouth. Haha just kidding. That’ll never happen.
If the Flames manage to walk away with four points of a possible six, that’ll be a successful week for them. Especially with how last week went. If they can win the next two-thirds of their remaining games, the playoffs are definitely within reach.