That’s all she wrote folks. The Calgary Flames 2017/18 season finally came to a close last night after 82 games of unfulfilled expectations. The Flames made sure that they entered the off-season with a sense of potential and purpose, as they dominated the Pacific Division Champion Vegas Golden Knights 7-1.
The goals came early, and often, for the home team as they were able to jump out to a 3-0 lead in under eight minutes. The Knights would respond, but that wouldn’t matter much as Calgary continued to pour on the goals. Marc-Andre Fleury was not sharp for the Knights, allowing six goals on 18 shots, and would be pulled after two periods. His counter part, Jon Gillies, was sensational, stopping 26 of 27 shots in easily his best game of the season.
The real story from last night was the play of Mark Jankowski. If you hadn’t already heard, he was able to earn his first NHL hat trick, and then added one more for good measure to complete the four goal game. Jankowski came within inches of scoring a fifth goal late in the third period, but alas the number remained at four. Showing shades of 2015/16 Sam Bennett, Jankowski gave fans a moment to remember heading into the summer. In addition to Jankowski, Johnny Gaudreau, Spencer Foo, and Garnet Hathaway also netted goals for the Flames.
Calgary finishes with a 37-35-10 record, equating to 84 points. They miss the post season by 11 points, and end up 11th in the Western Conference. Not what was expected at all, but there is always next season.
Player of the Game: Mark Jankowksi
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- The Flames were split in terms of CF% at 5v5. Eight players posted above 50.0%, eight were below 50.0%, and two had an even 50.0%.
- Brett Kulak led the team in possession with a CF% of 63.3%, with Garnet Hathaway close behind with a 60.0%.
- Matt Bartkowski posted the lowest CF% on the team with a 42.9%
- The Knights had a similar distribution of players above and below 50.0%, but with a much larger variance.
- Ryan Reaves posted a game high 81.0%, while Reilly Smith posted a game low 22.7%.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
It was an extremely somber mood at the start of the game last night, and frankly it felt like it would be a challenging task to cheer afterwards. The Calgary Flames put forth a spectacular opening tribute for the Humboldt Broncos team that suffered such an unimaginable tragedy Friday night. With the Knights and Flames embracing around center ice, the outpouring of support from players and fans was palpable. I’ve never experienced anything like that from a sporting event, and was exactly what the hockey community needed at such a difficult time.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and those impacted by the event.
In terms of the game, it took a back seat to the bigger picture, but it was good for the Flames to end on a winning note. After hearing post-game audio from the team, the Broncos were in the back of their minds all game and surely made an impact on their motivation.
Jankowski and Foo were easily the best two players on the ice last night. I have mentioned before the trend of over evaluating players in end of season situations, but if both of these young men aren’t on the team next year there will sure be some questions that need answering.
Other than that, it is tough to make definitive predictions for next season immediately after this one finishes. We will know a significant amount of information tomorrow, as the Flames hold their final media interviews during their locker clean out day. I am sure there will be a few surprises, but don’t expect any immediate changes. There will, and should, be a long investigation into the failures of this team and how management can improve upon them. There will be changes, but I am sure it will be for the better.
What needs to be fixed? Is It October Yet?
The last 10 games were extremely difficult to watch, but it doesn’t make us miss the Flames any less. It will be around six months before we get our next regular season Flames game, so let the countdown begin.
What needs to continue? Spencer Foo.
Scoring his second career goal in his fourth NHL game last night, Spencer Foo has made quite the impression on management and fans. Every time he touched the puck last night, the Dome poured on the “Foos”. Nothing in guaranteed for next season, but look to Foo for making a strong case to remain with the Flames.
The 2018/19 schedule hasn’t been released as of yet, so we can’t definitively say who the next opponent will be.
Stay tuned to The Win Column during the off-season, as we have plenty more Flames and league coverage to come. Thank you to all of our readers for the support this season, and we can’t wait for many more to come.