Calgary’s push to get to a .500 points percentage continues today with a 5:00 pm meeting with a free-falling New York Islanders
team that has now lost seven straight.
Despite the appearance of an easy win, after the past 500-some days, Flames fans know all too well that teams tend to play their best hockey nearing the end of a losing streak. Will the Islanders find their way back into the win column? Will the Flames keep building on their two game winning streak? We’ll find out in just a few hours.
Let’s jump into a few topics of note.
This Seems Familiar
Islanders fans can relate to the woes of Calgary supporters. Seven straight losses, but three points gleaned out of those games. Calgary took a total of 17 “Loser Points”
last season. That’s 20% of an 82 game schedule. This season has been better. Two loser points in 16 games or 12.5%.
Very little has gone right for the Isles since November 4. A 32nd ranked offence at 2.14 goals per game. Four goals against per game puts them tied for third worst. Their penalty kill is a humiliating 50% over that time. One ray of sunshine is their power play. 33% in November — fifth best among all NHL clubs this month. Matthew Barzal
and his burning speed have managed to produce at a point per game (eight in eight) despite the team going a 32nd place 1-4-3 on the month.
Islanders head coach Lane Lambert
must be pulling his hair out with stats like that. Islanders goalies Ilya Sorokin
(.915 sv% on the month) and Semyon Varlamov
(.961 sv% on the month) carried the team to a 4-2-2 October, but you can’t expect those kind of stats to not regress.
The Islanders aren’t the only party with November woes. Forward Adam Ruzicka
hasn’t put up a point in five games since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined the 24 year old for two weeks. It’s likely that the former member of the Sarnia Sting is still injured.
Coming Into Form
It appears Ryan Huska’s
Flames are starting to click. 4-2-1 on the month. A 10th ranked offence (3.57 goals per game) and a 13th ranked defence (2.86 goals against per game). Apply this month’s winning percentage to the rest of the season and we’re talking a 98 point season — enough for a playoff spot.
Sharing the Load
While it was odd seeing Calgary’s hottest line in Zary-Kadri-Pospisil get held off the scoresheet against the Canucks in Thursday’s 5-2 win over Vancouver — it was nice to see the rest of the team pick up the slack.
had zero goals and three assists in the previous 11 games. A goal and an assist on the night put him at three goals and nine points in 16 games. That total is miraculously second place on the Flames behind only Elias Lindholm,
who has three goals and 11 points in 16 appearances.
Former Flame Milan Lucic
was arrested last night after an alleged domestic dispute.
Details haven’t emerged, but Head Coach Jim Montgomery
had this to say on the matter.
“It’s not a normal day, but we’re professionals, and we have a game to play tonight.”
The 35 year old Vancouver native will be taking an indefinite leave from the team.
Tiffany Chan of WBZ had this update a few minutes ago.
Scary if true. Here’s hoping for a resolution for the family. What an awful situation.
Ritch in Rubles
More news regarding former Flames. Right winger Brett Ritchie
has signed with Belarusian club Dynamo Minsk of the KHL. He will join Calgarian former NHLer Nick Merkley
as well as Gemel Smith
on the roster as one of the imports.
It’s a shame KHL games aren’t on DAZN anymore. It would be interesting to see how well Brett handles himself in the K. The 30 year old made a hard push at a top six role in Arizona following being involved in the first brother-for-brother transaction in league history last deadline. Four points in his first game earned him a look, but he unfortunately fizzled out with only an assist in his final 13 outtings with the Coyotes.
Calgary Flames Projected Lineup
Yesterday’s practice lines courtesy of Pat Steinberg. @Fan960Steinberg
New York Islanders Projected Lineup
Per Stefen Rosner. @Stefen_Rosner
Game time is 5:00 pm MST. Catch the broadcast on Sportsnet West and CityTV in Canada and MSGSN in New York.
Stats via nhl.com, espn.com, eliteprospects.com and naturalstattrick.com.