Game Takes: Kings 4 Flames 1

March 29th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Two years ago the Flames clinched a playoff spot against the L.A. Kings on Saddledome ice, ending a 5 year drought of missed playoff seasons. The result was somewhat of a surprise, as they ousted a team that seemed so much deeper, and more experienced then an upstart Calgary team that was supposed to be at the precipice of a rebuild.

Two years later and the two teams met up again on the same ice with the same stakes, but it’s amazing how much has changed in 24 calendar months. The Kings are somewhat of a let down, but its the Flames that have changed the most in that time frame, their youth more experienced, and their supplementary players more impactful.

And that wasn’t all that changed, as this time it’s the battle tested warriors with a firm “Not Yet!” delivered to the upstart young squad that was perhaps too focused on retribution and score settling and not ready for the game in hand in a 4-1 set back to the Kings on Wednesday night.

The Flames have 5 more kicks at the cat to get it done.
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Game Takes: Flames 4 Avalanche 2

March 27th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

The Flames have played a lot of tough games, and in a lot of tough buildings of late, so hosting the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night certainly set up as the classic trap game. With 7 dates left on the schedule, and this only light tough left (assuming the Kings still have something to play for), the game set up as a great test for the professionalism of this edition of the Calgary Flames.

So how did they do?

Meh.

They were professional enough to get things done, so you can give them a check mark for the final result, but the 4-2 nail biter over the Colorado Avalanche was certainly not the intense, system laden effort that we’ve seen from this team in recent weeks.

But then how could it. Magic number down to 2, and move on to the California teams.
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Game Takes: Flames 3 Blues 2 (OT)

March 25th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

There are certain “arrived” buildings in my mind in the NHL circuit. Barns where the Flames always seemed to get wildly outplayed, usually massively out shot, and quite often hugely out scored.

The Scott Trade Center in St. Louis is one of those arenas, a place that feels like a loss before it begins because of the strength of the St. Louis Blues over the past decade of NHL action.

Tonight the Flames showed they are right there, as for the third straight game on this three game road trip they were very much in the fabric of the game, but this time they end up on the right side of things with a come from behind overtime victory in St. Louis. The 3-2 win keeps the gap between the two teams alive as they desperately try and avoid the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs.

Doesn’t that have a great sound to it? A Calgary team playing to avoid certain first round matchups.

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Game Takes: Predators 3 Flames 1

March 23rd, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Being able to carry the play and out chance the opposition is a great step towards becoming a perennial playoff team and a potential contender, but hockey teams that don’t execute just can’t win, and that was the case for the Calgary Flames tonight.

Tonight the Flames bobbled, whiffed, stumbled, bumbled and stumbled their way to a 3-1 loss in Nashville in a game that featured enough scoring chances and bad bounces to win three games in the first two periods.

Some nights are just not your night, better to shake it off and move on, this was one of those for the Calgary Flames.

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Banking on Bennett

March 22nd, 2017 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Sometimes it’s easier to not have a choice.

The Edmonton Oilers have had to wonder when gazing back on draft history if they selected the right player time and time again. The book is in on Nail Yakupov, but additional questions swarmed the choices of Taylor Hall (Tyler Seguin) and Ryan Nugent Hopkins (Gabe Landeskog). That first overall choice gives you the field, but with that comes a lot of post draft analysis and navel gazing.

When The Hockey News went to select their cover for the 2014 NHL Draft they couldn’t decide on just one player, instead they put four on the cover, and as it turns out that’s exactly the four that went as expected in the top four picks.

The Flames, with the fourth pick, took the last guy standing, that being the somewhat controversial Sam Bennett, a player who has struggled in his sophomore season after a pretty good rookie season, and a playoff showing before that that looked very promising.

The Oilers, who sat third in the draft had the choice between Leon Draisaitl and Sam Bennett, and at this moment in time only a fool would call that a bad choice, as the German center has become a huge part of their core and has passed the previous core players like Nugent Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, in terms of importance.

The results are still early though, not as early as any proclamations from Calgary that Matthew Tkachuk is the better player over Jesse Puljujärvi, but early nonetheless.

But why with the Flames only 9 games and 3 weeks from returning to the playoffs would I be writing a draft article?

Naturally, the suspension to Matthew Tkachuk.
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