Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter has been critical of a couple of defensive pairings recently. Of course, it’s tough to find positives during an eight game losing streak and a 2-7-1 record over the last 10 games. But the defenders are willing to accept responsibility for their shortcomings. So that’s a first step toward improvement. Meanwhile, a nice story out of Pittsburgh where former Flames taxi squad goaltender Louis Domingue made his first start of the year for the Penguins after spending last year in hockey hell with the Flames.
But first, the current Flames situation. Outscored 20-7 in their last four contest, things are really coming off the rails. You might expect some sketchy play from the bottom pairing on any team. And while the Flames have seen Nikita Zadorov and Erik Gudbranson struggle on some recent goals against, the play of Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson has dipped, too.
“I can be better as a player,” Hanifin said via Zoom this week. “The first few months, I thought things were going well. But when we played Florida recently, I thought my game dipped. That’s on us, to take ownership ourselves and make sure we’re improving and getting better and getting back to the level we were playing at.”
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Pittsburgh: On Saturday night, third-goalie Louis Domingue was the Penguins protector from a Shark attack. The Penguins improved in the third period and eked out a 2-1 OT win. Domingue made 40 saves. They might have found the answer to their backup goalie needs, which would be a nice reward for Domingue, who has 141 games of NHL experience including one with the Calgary Flames last season. It was a rough time for him in taxi squad limbo but he could solve a Pittsburgh Penguins trade need in-house.
Boston: The big get on the NHL trade block will be John Klingberg. Unless Pittsburgh GM Ron Hextall puts a couple of the Penguins core on the block, Klingberg will be the big get. Sources say the Boston Bruins are interested. For over a year, the Bruins have been big-game hunting in the NHL trade rumours. Maybe they finally land another big-money D.
Vancouver: The vultures are circling on the NHL trade market. With a few more losses, big names like Brock Boeser (paging the Calgary Flames), J.T. Miller, and more could be on their way out. It was Bruce Boudreau’s Capitals homecoming, and the Vancouver Canucks had a day.
Montreal: The poor Canadiens fans. The team was in the Stanley Cup Final last season but is looking for moral victories this season. Their roster is getting healthy. Former Penguins-tormentor Josh Anderson returned on Sunday, and Paul Byron will make the coming Montreal Canadiens road trip.
Sportsnet: NHL teams are awaiting word on whether or not Evander Kane will be suspended by the NHL again.
Washington: The Capitals power play finally came to life, but their even-strength play was not so good. The Canucks helped the Penguins and beat the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena.
NYI: Islanders had Stanley Cup aspirations this season. As even a playoff berth gets further away, even in their wins, the New York Islanders are sending up red flags.
Philly: Sending out an SOS. The Flyers are sinking. Things are going sideways again as they’re struggling to score goals. However, promising young Wade Allison may soon help the Philadelphia Flyers.
As a parting gift, here is a choose your own adventure of sorts from Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar’s big hit on Arizona Coyotes pest Antoine Roussel. Makar drilled him with a beautiful and clean hit but the cutaway from his exchange with Roussel after cut away mid-curse. How did he finish that sentence? Missin Curfew has one thought but you can probably think of a few other possibilities …
— Missin Curfew (@MissinCurfew) January 16, 2022