Weighing in on the Flames’ winning ways

The Calgary Flames are on a roll, ladies and gentlemen. After another slow start coming out of the all-star break, both the Flames and their fans were suffering from flashbacks to last season’s horrendous stretch of games after their mandated break.

That edition of the Flames would drop six straight games after their break and never fully recover, dropping out of playoff contention before the season was over. Though there were other reasons they dropped off last year, losing five of their first six coming out of this season’s break, one couldn’t help but wonder if history would repeat itself..

Well, the Flames have put that notion to rest with a shiny seven game win streak that brings them within three wins of tying a franchise record of ten straight wins, which last occurred during the 2016-17 campaign (also once in 1978 when the Flames were still playing out of Atlanta).

The previous mark to that was eight consecutive wins. What season was that record first set in you ask? You guessed it: 1989. Now we don’t need to remind you what happened that season. Calgary also tied that eight game mark in 1993 and 2005.

While history is fun, let’s take a closer look at the last three seasons, and see how this current win streak stacked up against the past three iterations of the Flames.

2015-16: Seven Games (December 1 – December 17)

Oddly enough, this season would be the beginning of a four year stretch where Calgary would put together at least a seven game win streak. This is one of those win streaks where despite playing well, the Flames may have seen a bit of puck luck. Calgary claimed victories over some great competition with wins over the Dallas Stars twice (to start and end the win streak), as well as the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, and Nashville Predators.

After the win streak, Calgary would manage to string together more than two straights wins on only one occasion. The rest of the season was a struggle to maintain any sort of consistency, and their season would fall short once again. Even during the win streak they would only manage mixed results with a 48.3 CF%, 49.7 SCF% and a 53.8 HDCF%.

2016-17: Ten Games (February 21 – March 13)

This win streak would be the second lengthy win streak of the season for the Flames, after a six game boost earlier in the season. The stretch of ten games saw them play a mix of very good teams and some of the NHL’s bottom groups. The Flames carried this momentum forward right into the playoffs, having not lost more than two games in a row for the remainder of the season.

The largest benefit of this win streak is that it will go down in Flames’ lore as their longest win streak in franchise history to date. The Flames went on to lose their first round match-up to the rival Anaheim Ducks in four straight games. Calgary also posted average underlying numbers through this ten game stretch, with a 49.4 CF%, 52.1 SCF% and a 50.3 HDCF%.

2017-18: Seven Games (December 31 – January 14)

Last year, their string of seven wins would be the only instance in their ill-fated season that Calgary would win more than three games in a row. It also directly led into the league-mandated break for the Flames. They would come back and not only fail to put together much momentum after the break, but they also saw losing streaks of six, four and seven straight games to close out the second half of the season.

As for the seven game win streak that was the lone bright spot, most of the games were close affairs. Calgary did manage to look impressive on paper in a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning had an impressive squad last season, so this victory was nothing to sneeze at. Looking deeper though, the writing was on the wall. Calgary finished that seven game swing with a 48.6 CF%, 45.9 SCF% and a 46.6 HDCF%.

2018-19: Seven Games (February 16 – Present)

The current win streak started out in a peculiar fashion with the Flames holding on for a 5-4 victory over a good Pittsburgh Penguins squad. The teams fancy stats were sub-par overall and they were buoyed by a fast start when they jumped out to a 5-2 lead, and held on for the victory.

The rest of the streak has seen an upwards trend with Calgary controlling play against their opponents for most of the stretch. Interestingly enough, their star players like Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm, and Matthew Tkachuk have been quiet in their contributions to the win streak.

While it’d be nice to see them get going again, and you know they will, it’s almost nicer to see their depth players chipping in. Austin Czarnik, Andrew Mangiapane, Derek Ryan, and Rasmus Andersson are just a few players who have stepped up to the plate and their contributions have not gone unnoticed.

The team results have been mixed through the streak, there were a few games the Flames should have blown out of the water, but the final scores ended up closer than their underlying numbers would suggest. Through the seven game stretch, the Flames boasted a 55.3 CF%, 57.6 SCF% and a 57.6 HDCF%.

Can the Flames set a new record?

They are at seven games and counting! This season the Flames have made another impressive run of seven games in a row. At this point it seems that seven games is their magic number, however this could be the season that we see them push past lucky number seven once more.

Their fancy stats are at an elite level for the first time in any of the seasons that we have looked at. Further, they are playing well as a team and getting contributions from up and down the lineup. The Flames have found ways to win on nights where they are dominating and not getting the breaks, and they are finding the wins on nights when they haven’t been at their best.

The other big factor will be strength of competition. Over the next four games Calgary will split their games with two at home and two on the road. They will face in order the Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights, and the Arizona Coyotes.

Calgary is 6-1 against these four opponents so far this season, with the lone loss coming at the hand of the Vegas. Toronto is playing much better as of late and we all know that Vegas is a much different team with the addition of Mark Stone.

With all of this being said, I would say that the Flames at the very least have a good shot of adding yet another impressive record to their breakout campaign.


Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

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