The Calgary Flames are struggling. This is a statement of fact. The club has lost four straight and Sunday’s 6-0 trouncing at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights may have been a breaking point of sorts.
The Flames are now 10-10-3 this season and have been shutout the past two contests. They’ve been outscored 15-3 in their last four games.
“It’s disgusting,” forward Matthew Tkachuk said about the tone in Calgary’s locker room. “It’s bad, it’s bad right now. We need to change this around.”
Goalie Cam Talbot turned aside 31 of 37 shots on a hellish Sunday night.
There was no question in Tkachuk’s mind that their netminder had been let down by a lax defensive effort. “It’s not fun being down in games and it’s not fun leaving your goalie out to dry like that,’ he said.
Scoring is an issue, obviously, but everything is an issue at this point. A year ago at this time, Calgary was among the most formidable offensive threats in the NHL. Last season, they finished averaging 3.52 goals a game – putting them second overall. Now, they’re averaging 2.60.
Winger Johnny Gaudreau has just five goals in 23 games. Sean Monahan’s also has five.
Tkachuk is dragging the team to some semblance of respectability, with 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points so far. Elias Lindholm has the rest of the goal-scoring down, more or less, with 10 goals and 56 shots on goal.
But what else can you say? The Flames haven’t illustrated much jam, much spring in their step. On Sunday, they were pushed around by Ryan Reaves and the rest of the Golden Knights. They cracked off a good dose of shots on Marc-Andre Fleury while somehow never really looking like they could score a goal.
To their credit, Calgary was just down 2-0 entering the final frame against Vegas. But that dissipated and turned into a big pile of nothing, with the Flames flailing to generate meaningful offence and the Golden Knights having their way with the visitors.
Calgary returns home with their proverbial tail between their legs, a road swing once again solidifying the truth of this season. Changing it around will take some doing, but the Flames can get started with an inspired effort against the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday.
Photo credit: Isaac Brekken