If you saw the Calgary Flames the last two days, the first word that comes to mind is ‘yuck’! How this team even got to 80 points is remarkable and then they put up absolute duds against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday and then an even poorer game against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.
The Flames now find themselves six points back of the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings for a playoff spot in the Pacific Division. They also need to keep an eye on what is happening in the Central as finishing in the top four in the Pacific may simply not be enough. If the fifth place team in the Central has more points than the fourth place team in the Pacific, the fourth place team in the Pacific is out of luck. At the present time, the Dallas Stars (fifth in the Central at 84 points) and the St. Louis Blues (sixth in the Central at 83 points) have more points than the Flames, who are fifth in the Pacific.
As a defensive pairing, it is fair to say that T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic have not gelled well together as a unit. Brodie was a combined -4 in the Flames losses to San Jose and Vegas and did not play against Arizona because of an injury. On the season, Brodie is a -16, the same plus/minus he was last year. After his first six seasons where he was a combined +10, Brodie is now a career -22.
Hamonic’s first year in Calgary hasn’t really gone according to plan either. Offensively, he only has one goal in 103 shots on goal and is a -5. Yes, Hamonic should be credited for his outstanding humanitarianism off the ice, but Flames fans might feel a little disappointed that they gave up three high round draft picks to the New York Islanders in acquiring Hamonic to their defensive group.
There is a still a chance for Calgary to make the playoffs. With eight games to go, they are not mathematically out yet, and have games against the Ducks and Kings still on the schedule. However there is no doubt time is ticking and it is looking like more and more there will be only two Canadian teams that make the playoffs this year. That will be the Toronto Maple Leafs from the East and the Winnipeg Jets from the West. At least it is not like two years ago when all seven Canadian teams missed the playoffs.