It was confirmed Friday that the Calgary Flames had a players-only meeting, one that came sometime after their 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens Thursday.
The loss put the Flames on a three-game losing streak, during which they’ve been outscored 11-7 by the Habs and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Their two losses to Toronto were one-goal games and they did knock off the Vancouver Canucks by a final score of 5-2 on January 18, but the Flames see more than a few reasons to get things together.
They are, after all, sixth place in the North Division – a North Division currently led by the Maple Leafs but frankly dominated by the Canadiens.
And they are, after all, just two points ahead of the troubled Ottawa Senators. That puts Calgary two points out of the basement and just one behind the Oilers at press time, a position they definitely do not want to be in for very long at all.
After the Thursday loss, forward Sean Monahan was point-blank about at least one of the issues.
“I just think we lacked some emotion,” he said. “We’ve got to be invested emotionally in games and when that’s lacking, it’s tough to get momentum. We’ve got to play for each other. We have a tight team, so we have to regroup here real quick. We’ve got to be invested a lot harder and play harder. When you do that, when you’re playing for each other, that’s when you get results.”
Flames head coach Geoff Ward was also on the “emotion” tip, stating that his hockey club has to find a way to get some of that intangible stuff without a crowd in the stands.
Calgary did open the season with a 2-0-1 record and seemed game to run the table, at least up until the last few games.
Now, it’s not quite back to the drawing board. But the Flames are at a point when they need to start assessing what’s going wrong and establishing what’s keeping them out of the win column. On the ice, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact issue.
Consider Johnny Gaudreau, who is on a six-game scoring streak. Or consider the goaltending, which has been solid most nights. Or Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin, who’ve not allowed an even-strength goal against this season.
There is a lot of cause for optimism. And sometimes it comes down to puck luck, a few bounces this way or that.
The Flames will have a chance to turn things the right direction Saturday against Montreal, then it’s off to Winnipeg for three straight against the Jets.