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Huska’s Calgary Flames Have an Always Darkest Before the Dawn Complex



Calgary Flames Daily

As of March 27, the Calgary Flames are coming off their fourth loss in a row. The latest came against the Chicago Blackhawks – a team with only 21 wins in 72 games.

While things may seem to be at the proverbial rock bottom of the 2023-2024 season, this current slide is nothing out of the ordinary for this edition of the Calgary Flames. Calgary has a strong tendency to hit these slumps and follow them up with winning streaks.


Calgary Flames streaks since December 9: 

Four losses
Three wins
Two losses
Three wins
Two losses
Four wins
Four losses
Four wins
Three losses
Five wins
One loss
One win
Three losses
Two wins
Four losses

Seven losing streaks and six winning streaks in the last 45 games.

Only once have they had a single isolated loss followed by a win between streaks. The Flames can beat Boston or Vancouver one week and then pivot and lose to Chicago, Columbus or the San Jose the next.

Even stranger is that the near exact situation that the Flames find themselves in (four straight losses capped by 31st-place Chicago) nearly happened already earlier this season. Jacob Markstrom fended off a number of breakaways, and odd man rushes to shutout the Blackhawks en route to a 1-0 win.

Their only win against Chicago in the past two seasons.

That Jan. 27 win over Bedard’s Blackhawks signaled the end of a four-game losing streak. In typical fashion, the final loss of that particular streak came against the 28th-placed Columbus Blue Jackets; a nasty, one-sided 5-2 affair that featured former Flame Erik Gudbranson bullying rookie Adam Klapka in the final minutes of the match.


Always Darkest Before the Dawn

Alright, let’s dig out a trend or two. The Flames have had 11 losing streaks of two or more this season after 71 games. We’ll plug in which team served as their final loss of each streak.

* denotes a team currently sitting in a playoff spot.

Oct. 14-16: Two losses (Washington*)
Oct. 20-29: Six losses (Dallas*)
Nov 10-11: Two losses (Ottawa)
Dec 2-5: Two losses (Minnesota)
Dec 9-14: Four losses (Minnesota)
Dec. 23-27: Two losses (Seattle)
Jan 6-7: Two losses (Chicago)
Jan. 18-25: Four losses (Columbus)
Feb. 12-17: Three losses (Detroit)
Mar. 9-12: Three losses (Colorado*)
Mar. 18-26: Four losses (TBD, but they just lost to Chicago)

Pretty wild so far. Ten concluded losing streaks; only three ended with a loss to a playoff-projected team.

Factor out Ryan Huska’s adjustment period 2-6-1 October, and you have eight losing streaks. Seven of them have ended on sour notes involving losses to teams that the Flames are expected to beat. Teams that, maybe Detroit aside, aren’t remotely close to making the playoffs.

Getting Meta

It’s fun to follow and identify trends and patterns in each Calgary Flames season. Every year has something different recurring that the team manages to struggle with.

Maybe said trends will recur over a few years, such as Iggy’s Flames having notoriously slow Octobers followed by notoriously strong Decembers. Others, such as Darryl’s 2022-2023 Flames consistently finding a way to lose in overtime (17 times in 82 games), appear to be self-contained to just one season.

This season?

Major swings in quality of play week-by-week. Once the team got comfortable within Huska’s high-tempo offence and zone defence around the beginning of December, that trend really took off.

Taking the concept to a macro level, despite the variance of trends in any given year, one consistency over decades of Flames hockey is that the result is the team proverbially shooting themselves in the foot a few times over an 82-game schedule.

And when it comes to going on a long run, in this case towards winning a Stanley Cup, most medical professionals would advise that you not to shoot yourself in the foot too often.


More from CHN: 

[6 Spicy Free Agent Targets for the Calgary Flames This Offseason]

Liam O'Brien Flames

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


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