Games Takes: Flames 5 Kings 2

March 19th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

When all eyes were on the final few weeks of the season a month and a half ago the fact that the Flames had to play the Kings three times in their final 16 games loomed large. So to did the final six games taking place in or against the three California teams. For a Flames club hoping to be in the mix though, as a fan you just had to be excited that they had a chance, they’d be in that last ditch push to the wire; the city would be electric.

Nobody saw a ten game win streak, or 20 games that featured a 16-3-1 record making these games still important of course, but so much less crucial than they would have been had the team moved along at a similar .550 pace that had them through their first 55 games of the season.

However you also want to see that killer instinct, to step on the throats of the chasing team. A L.A. win and it’s a 7 point gap, but instead the Flames beat the Kings 5-2 on the backs of Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, stretching their playoff lead to 11 points, and their magic number stripped down to 6.

It’s happening!
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Game Takes: Flames 3 Stars 1

March 17th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

In the 80s the Russians had the green unit, a group of five players that played together always. They were all household names, one of them, Sergei Makarov, actually played in Calgary.

What made it unique was the fact that the Russians under coach Viktor Tikhonov attempted to play three forwards with two defenseman at all times, a depart from the North American model that essentially lives on today; that forward lines and defense pairings.

The Flames this year have taken a huge step forwards in the standings and the possession analytics that show the team generating more shots than they give up on most nights. That takes systems, but it also takes utilization decisions and more often than not Glen Gulutzan has his big five play drivers on the ice together in Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Mikael Backlund, Micheal Frolik and rookie Matthew Tkachuk.

The big five were one ice together for all three Flames goals tonight, and all five going +3 in a solid 3-1 victory over the very green Dallas Stars on St. Patrick’s Day.

The Russians had KLM, so why not build a five around 3M?
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Game Takes: Flames 3 Jets 0

March 11th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

As a hockey team you can’t get complacent. The coach’s biggest job is to keep the collective eye on the prize and avoid the team resting on their laurels, reading happy newspaper articles and feeling satisfied bout accomplishments.

That task is getting more and more difficult with every day and every game on the calendar.

The Flames won their 9th straight game tonight, a 3-0 victory in Winnipeg running their shut out string to 130 minutes and moving past the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks into 2nd place in the Pacific Division. The club is now 12 games over .500 having gone 10-0-1 in their last ten games, completely erasing a gap that looked insurmountable a month ago.

The goaltending looks great, the special teams are tight, they’re rolling four lines and even had some good luck on the injury front over the past two days.

Things are rolling. Just ignore it and keep going!

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Game Takes: Flames 5 Canadiens 0

March 9th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

I’ve seen it in my traveled circles.

Oiler fans I know consider this their season. When you talk to them you can see it, one team goes up the other goes down and with that you have a change in power in the province. You sit out ten years and take it on the chin, then you get to enjoy how the other half lives when things fall apart in Southern Alberta.

Not so fast.

The Flames may have played an extra game, but the point gap is now zero as the team wins their 8th straight game catching the Oilers in points at 78 with a 5-0 win over the startled and Carey Price-less Montreal Canadiens.

The win came did come with a “Price” after all however as the Flames lost both Dougie Hamilton and Michael Stone to injury in the last half of the game creating a pall over a team that should be giddy over a 9-0-1 record in their last ten. Hopefully not that serious, but details likely won’t roll out until tomorrow.
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Game Takes: Flames 5 Islanders 2

March 5th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Afternoon games are always difficult to predict.

Rarely do you see both teams bring their “A” game and give you a hard fought, tight, end to end battle filled with energy and action. Far too often one of the two teams completely pulls up lame, and if the fans are really unlucky neither team shows up and you have a complete snooze fest, where you spend more time looking at your watch than the ice surface.

Luckily for Calgary fans the discombobulated club was the Islanders as the Flames came out and posted four first period goals on their way to a 5-2 win over the Islanders on Sunday afternoon.
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