Connect with us

Calgary Flames

Three Reasons the Flames Losing Streak Will End



The Calgary Flames are mired in their longest losing streak since prior to the pandemic.

It was 2018 when the team last lost seven straight games.

The franchise record is eight, but current head coach Darryl Sutter hasn’t dropped this many consecutive contests since an eight-game skid coaching the Chicago Blackhawks back in 1994-95. And he’s been behind the bench for more than 1,400 games.

A 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday night was another tight game. But they came out on the wrong side yet again.

So why is Sutter so calm about it? It wasn’t long ago he said he thought the players were a bit complacent.

Here are three reasons to avoid panic.

Huberdeau and Tanev should return soon

The adversity of injuries isn’t something the Calgary Flames had to deal with much last year. At least until the playoffs. And the team says defenceman Chris Tanev’s upper-body injury isn’t related to the one he had surgically repaired at the end of last season. He joined the team on the three-game trip, which suggests he’s on the mend.

Jonathan Huberdeau might have hurt something up top and down low in the loss to the New York Islanders on Monday but he has also avoided IR and stayed with the team in New Jersey and Boston. The winger even took a test spin on Thursday morning after not being able to get his foot in his skate two days earlier.

The Flames are a much better team with Tanev. And Huberdeau played arguably his best of the year in the overtime loss to the Islanders.

The Flames have faced some tough competition

Two games against the Oilers and Devils. Singles against top-end teams like the Boston Bruins, Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche. The upstart Buffalo Sabres, Statistically, the Flames have had one of the toughest starts to the season based on quality of competition.

Even the Seattle Kraken have been stronger than expected to start the season. And aside from a pretty ugly game against the Sabres, the Flames aren’t exactly getting blown out. So there’s no reason to suggest blowing it up.

They’ll have a chance to string some wins together with a run against some teams that either aren’t in that top tier or are not playing their best hockey when they meet.

Those things often balance out over the long season.

Remember, this Flames team was touted as a title contender when it started 5-1.

Their underlying possession numbers are still pretty good

Some of this streak can be attributed to bad luck.

Sutter talked about needing his shooters to connect on their chances more often and the goalies to raise their save percentages. And while a lot goes into both those numbers, there’s a stat called PDO that combines the two and is often referred to as puck luck.

The Calgary Flames, it just so happens, are among a handful of the worst teams in the league in that category (.971).

Meanwhile, they’re up in the top five or 10 in possession metrics like expected goals and Corsi, which assess shot volume and scoring chances.

Andrew Mangiapane, Dillon Dube and Tyler Toffoli all had great chances to put the Flames ahead during their Boston battle but missed open nets.

“When you get Grade-As, you’ve got to score,” Sutter shrugged afterward. “You’re thinking one out of three, right? You’ve just got to finish, that’s all.”

Bottom line:

The Calgary Flames left a lot of points untapped in the three-game road trip, but Sutter would prefer they avoid talking about being frustrated. Frustrated is for the fans.

“You’d rather be angry than frustrated. That’s a way better emotion,” Sutter said after the 3-1 loss in Boston to end the roadie.

“Quite honestly, this whole trip, I don’t have an issue with any of it. We’ve played our buts off … didn’t get much out of it.”