Flames Need Mangiapane to Snap Out of Scoring Funk

With just 10 games remaining on their schedule, the Calgary Flames are preparing for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which are set to begin in less than a month. Things couldn’t be going much better for this team right now, as they have won four straight games and have a commanding seven-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division.

Related: Flames’ Gaudreau Should Be a Hart Trophy Finalist

Johnny Gaudreau has been fantastic as he nears 100 points on the season, as have his linemates, Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm who are both having career years. While their offensive productivity is fantastic, it is helping hide the fact that Andrew Mangiapane is really struggling to put the puck in the net as of late.

Mangiapane Caught in Major Slump

Early on in the 2021-22 season, Mangiapane could do no wrong. Through his first 19 games, he was one of the hottest players in the league with 15 goals. At that point, many believed a 40-goal season was a strong possibility, while some even suggested he may be able to hit 50. That narrative changed shortly after, however, as he went on to score a much more modest four goals through his next 20 games.

Andrew Mangiapane Calgary Flames
Andrew Mangiapane, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It appears that early surge, followed by a cold stretch may be what we should come to expect from Mangiapane, as he has been as streaky as they come this season. He once again went on a tear from Jan. 26 to March 3, scoring 11 goals in a 15-game span. Since then, his game has cooled off dramatically, as he has recorded just a single goal in his past 18 contests. Thankfully, it hasn’t mattered for the Flames, who are continuing to pick up wins at a rapid rate, but they will need him to get it together soon.

Flames’ Top Stars Need Support

Through the regular season, the Flames’ top line has been good enough on their own that they truly haven’t needed much offensive support from the rest of the team. That isn’t to say they haven’t gotten it, as several players have provided secondary scoring, while Mangiapane, despite his inconsistencies, does have an impressive 30 goals on the year.

With that being said, teams will key in on the Flames’ top line when the playoffs begin, which may make it difficult for Gaudreau, Tkachuk and Lindholm to put up points at the rapid rate they are right now. That is why they need Mangiapane to rediscover his scoring touch and fast. The good news for them is that he has proven in the past that he can step up in big moments.

Mangiapane Has Lived up to High-Pressure Situations in the Past

After the Flames’ season came to an end last year, Mangiapane chose to head overseas and suit up for Team Canada at the IIHF World Hockey Championship in Latvia. By the time he was finished with his mandatory quarantine, however, his team was in a major rut, as they began the tournament with three straight losses.

Luckily for them, Mangiapane came in and gave them exactly what they needed, providing offence plenty and often. By the time the tournament came to an end, he had seven goals and 11 points in just seven games. Not only was that good enough for third in scoring amongst all players, but it helped lead Canada to a gold medal. To no one’s surprise, he was named the tournament’s MVP in what was a very clutch performance overall.

Andrew Mangiapane Connor Brown Troy Stecher Team Canada
Andrew Mangiapane, Connor Brown and Troy Stecher of Team Canada, 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship (Photo by EyesWideOpen/Getty Images)

Sure, the World Hockey Championship does not have the same stakes as the NHL Playoffs, but it was still a big moment for the 25-year-old, and he more than lived up to the expectations placed on him. The Flames need him to work his way out of this slump and get back to being the player he has shown at times that he is capable of being. If he is able to do that, they could very well be the team hoisting the Stanley Cup when the playoffs come to an end.

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