The Calgary Flames have been a little inconsistent this season. At 17-14-3, it is fair to say a little more was expected by Flames fans, especially after making the postseason in 2016-17 and the fact that they have on paper a solid defense. With 34 games into the season, the Flames have given up 102 goals this season, which is the fifth most in the Western Conference.
On Sunday night in Vancouver, the Flames might have put together their most complete game of the season. In a 6-1 win over the Canucks, the Flames had their most dominant win of 2017-18 and won it with their backup goaltender in David Rittich in between the pipes.
Sam Bennett led the Flames offensive attack with four points—one goal and three assists and was a +3. There is no question the Flames need Bennett to provide secondary offense, especially with Kris Versteeg out with a hip injury.
The Flames also had a strong game offensively from a veteran and a youngster. Captain Mark Giordano had two goals and five shots on goal. Meanwhile, Mark Jankowski, the Flames first round draft pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, had one goal and two assists for three points, with a +3 and had five shots on goal.
Up until now it is fair to say Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan have carried the Flames in the opponent’s zone. Prior to Monday night Gaudreau was tied for third in NHL scoring with 40 points. (He was tied with John Tavares and Josh Bailey of the New York Islanders, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers). Monahan meanwhile leads the Flames with 17 goals.
The Canucks were able to shutdown Monahan and Gaudreau, as collectively they only had one assist in the six Flames goals. It was just the rest of the Flames that Vancouver could not stop.
The Flames still have more than enough time to turn their season around. They are only one point back of the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars of a playoff spot. More complete games like the one the Flames displayed in Vancouver, will help them make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third time in four years.