THE STATS LINE
18-18-5 record [23rd overall (in points percentage)]
2.42 goals-for per game [25th overall]
2.73 goals-against per game [13th overall]
16.8% power-play success rate [18th overall]
82.5% penalty-kill success rate [16th overall]
45.2% in the face-off circle [30th overall]
THE WEEK THAT WAS
- December 29: The Flames continued their road-trip with a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders, snapping their winning streak at four games. Tim Jackman had the lone goal.
- December 30: The Flames leapt out to a 3-0 lead, only to give up four consecutive goals in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators. Leland Irving faced 49 shots and earned the Flames their fourth point in three appearances by the rookie netminder.
- January 1: Jarome Iginla scored his 499th career goal…and then the Flames gave up four goals to the Predators. Calgary battled back, but ultimately lost 5-3 for their third straight set-back.
- January 3: The Flames get caught behind the eight-ball early and trail for most of the game against the Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin put the Capitals up 1:11 into the game and the Flames ultimately lost by a 3-1 score.
BACK DOWN TO .500 AT THE HALF-WAY POINT
The win-one, lose-one Calgary Flames have crept to the half-way marker of the regular season. The good news? They sit a mere 4 points out of a playoff spot. The bad news? A .500 record will not be good enough to get them into the playoffs.
The team’s inconsistency from game-to-game is the tale of the first half, benchmarked by their middling special teams numbers and downright bad face-off figures. The Flames are currently being out-scored 74-67 at 5-on-5 (21st in the league in 5-on-5 goal differential).
Here’s a quick goals-per-game breakdown.
- 0 goals: 3 games (0-3-0)
- 1 goal: 11 games (2-9-0)
- 2 goals: 8 games (3-3-2)
- 3 goals: 10 games (5-3-2)
- 4 goals: 5 games (4-0-1)
- 5 goals: 3 games (3-0-0)
- 7 goals: 1 game (1-0-0)
Same details, except goals-against per game.
- 0 goals: 2 games (2-0-0)
- 1 goal: 8 games (8-0-0)
- 2 goals: 10 games (5-4-1)
- 3 goals: 9 games (2-5-2)
- 4 goals: 4 games (0-3-1)
- 5 goals: 7 games (0-6-1)
- 6 goals: 1 game (1-0-0)
Yes, Virginia, the Flames are almost as likely to give up five goals as they are to give up one. This is the very picture of their inconsistency, both offensively and defensively. The Flames almost always score between 1 and 3 goals (accounting for 29 of 41 games), but most frequently allow 1, 2, 3 or 5 goals. As a result, the team ends up living and dying by special teams; it’s awfully hard to win games when you’re asking a middling power-play to score one extra goal and asking a middling penalty kill to keep one additional goal out of your net. Given how crucial winning face-offs are on special teams and in close games, it’s no small wonder things have turned out the way they have for Calgary.
As a result? This proposition works roughly half the time, which puts the Flames at .500 and decidedly on the outside of the playoff picture at the half-way mark of the season, albeit not terribly far away from a berth if they can manage to improve face-offs and special teams ever-so-slightly.
JOKINEN HITS MILESTONE, IGINLA NEARS ANOTHER
Olli Jokinen played his 1000th NHL contest on January 1 in Nashville. Jokinen celebrated the occasion with an assist on Jarome Iginla’s 499th career goal. Jokinen is the 9th player to play their 1000th game in a Flames jersey. The others are Lanny McDonald, Dave Lowry, Craig Berube, Martin Gelinas, Owen Nolan, Iginla, Daymond Langkow and Craig Conroy.
Jarome Iginla continues to approach 500 goals. He presently has 499 and ranks ahead of Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson (498 goals) and behind Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald (500 goals). He also recently passed Bobby Smith for 65th in all-time scoring with his 1,037th point. Iginla’s 500th goal will make him just the 19th player in NHL history to score 500 goals for a single franchise.
FLAMES FIFTH IN TICKET REVENUE, SAYS REPORT
A NHL revenue report leaked to the Toronto Star reportedly stated that the Calgary Flames were fifth in ticket revenue during the 2010-11 season. According to the report, the Flames grossed approximately $61.5 million from ticket sales last season, a slight increase from their $53.3 million gross from the 2007-08 season. According to the Star’s report, Canadian teams account for five of the top six revenue-generators in the league (the other five teams besides Calgary are Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, the New York Rangers and Edmonton). [Stick-tap to MC79 Hockey for posting the print-only revenue tables.]
Flames blueliner Derek Smith went down with a high ankle sprain in Calgary’s game against the New York Islanders. The team reported that Smith is expected to be out 6-to-8 weeks. The Flames activated Anton Babchuk off their injured reserve to compensate and swapped Joe Piskula back to Abbotsford and brought up Clay Wilson.
Meanwhile, Sportsnet broadcaster Roger Millions reported on his Twitter feed that Flames defenseman Mark Giordano may be finding his way back to the team’s line-up sooner than many expected. Giordano went down with a hamstring injury in November and was expected to miss several months, but he was seen skating before Calgary practices prior to the club’s 7-game road trip.
Calgary remains without Smith (ankle), Giordano (hamstring), Alex Tanguay (head), David Moss (ankle), Henrik Karlsson (knee), Matt Stajan (ankle) and Brett Carson (back).
DISPATCHES FROM THE FARM
- World Juniors: As of this writing, Finland’s Markus Granlund was slated to play in the bronze medal game on Thursday. Granlund has 7 points and a plus-7 rating through 6 games. Team USA’s Bill Arnold, now competing in the relegation round, has 6 points and an even rating through 6 games – placing him third on the American team in scoring. Swiss forward Sven Baertschi has not played since the second preliminary game due to concussion-like symptoms.
- WHL: Flame prospects Baertschi (Portland), Michael Ferland (Brandon) and Patrick Holland (Tri-City) are among the WHL’s top 20 scorers. Kootenay’s Max Reinhart is the 21st scorer in the league.
- NCAA: Even without top scorer Bill Arnold (who is at the World Juniors), Boston College keeps chugging along. The Eagles came in third at the annual Great Lakes Invitational tournament last weekend in Detroit. Flame prospect Johnny Gaudreau had an assist in the tournament.
- AHL: Missing as many as eight regulars in any given game, the Abbotsford Heat continue to chug along. They presently sit second overall in the entire AHL, with only the Oklahoma City Barons having more points. Replacement goalie Danny Taylor has just one regulation loss since joining the club in early December.