The Calgary Flames have been a bit of a run lately, going 8-1-1 in their last ten games. Although they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 on Saturday night, the change of coaches must have been motivating for the team. The Flames have played much better under interim head coach Geoff Ward.
Perhaps Ward brings a kinder, gentler approach. One can only guess, given the rumors about former coach Bill Peters’ methods of motivating his players.
In this post, I will try to keep Flames’ fans up-to-date on the news that’s surrounding the team.
Item One: Sean Monahan’s Eight-Game Point Steak Ended
As is the case when a team loses via a shutout, all point streaks end. That’s true of Sean Monahan on Saturday against the Hurricanes. James Reimer simply stiffed the team and carried the Hurricanes to victory.
That shutout ended both the Flames’ seven-game winning streak and Monahan’s seven-game scoring streak. Still, it was quite a run for the veteran center, and in total Monahan had scored five goals with five assists during the eight games. For the season, his totals are 11 goals, 17 assists, and 28 points in 35 games. He’s been a valuable member of the Flames for many seasons, and this season is no different.
Item Two: Sam Bennett Is Ready To Get Back Into the Lineup
Sam Bennett, who’s been out of the lineup with an upper-body injury he suffered on November 16, is ready to return to the active roster. Bennett had been placed on the long-term injured reserve list on November 20, so he had to sit out either 10 games or 24 days. And now his waiting time is up, and he’s ready to go.
Prior to his injury, Bennett had three goals, and two assists (for five points) in 20 games. Although that doesn’t seem like much, his physicality makes him a valuable member of the Flames’ roster. Welcome back to Bennett.
Item Three; Goalie David Rittich’s Five-Game Winning Streak Is Over
Goalie David Rittich was simply overwhelmed by the Hurricanes in suffering the loss. Specifically, in the second period alone he faced 18 shots on net and allowed two goals. Obviously, one goal was enough to stake him to the loss and that loss ended his winning streak at five games.
In his previous start against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night, Rittich had stopped 32 of 34 shots for a 4-2 victory.
Item Four: T.J. Brodie Hasn’t Scored Yet in December
T.J. Brodie has had a tough season, and in December he’s scored no points; but, he’s had a plus-2 rating in his six games. Earlier this season, the veteran defenseman had collapsed on the ice during practice (November 14) but the Flames team doctor ascertained that the episode was more likely due to a fainting spell than a medical emergency or an injury to Brodie’s brain.
The 29-year-old was returned to the ice, but while the team has prospered he has not. His lackluster play moved him to the third defensive pairing with Oliver Kylington against the Hurricanes. Over his career, Brodie has been a consistently medium-scoring defenseman with at least 30 points in each of the last six seasons. However, he has only 10 points in 29 games in 2019-20, so it’s not likely he’ll reach that level this season. Something’s a bit off.
Item Five: Michael Frolik Was Moved to a Line with Mark Jankowski and Tobias Rieder
Michael Frolik’s been playing with a line consisting of Mark Jankowski and Tobias Rieder. Frolik’s time with former linemates Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk ended when Ward became the head coach. Although Frolik’s new partners aren’t as high scoring, he’s not suffered with them and has had four points (three goals) in his last three games.
Ward obviously values Frolik as a team member, noting that Frolik has been “one of the guys in our room that has won a Stanley Cup. He’s been through the wars. He’s a real good pro. So, he comes to the rink every day, he works hard, he’s an example for our young players. And, he’s all about the team. He gives himself to the team 100 percent. He’s one of the most selfless players I’ve ever been around. For him to start getting rewarded is nice.”
What’s Next for the Calgary Flames?
The Flames play on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and on Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens before they head off on a road trip. Can the team continue its stellar play? Can Rittich begin another winning streak? These are the questions the team will answer shortly.
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