Calgary Flames

Flames Sunday Census: Defending the Saddledome in a seven-game home stand

Officially passing the halfway mark of their season, the Calgary Flames had a gruelling travel schedule that saw them play 27 out of a possible 42 games on the road so far. The large discrepancy wasn’t originally on the schedule as their COVID-induced team shutdown and rescheduled games due to arena capacities ultimately led to a much more drastic ratio.

Finally, the Flames are about to start a seven-game home stand and their opponents greatly vary from one to another. How might the Flames emerge from their longest stint at home for the season? We asked, you answered.

A lack of Flames games at home

With just 15 home games so far in the season, the Flames have relatively struggled compared to their road record. They sit at just 7–4–4 in the Saddledome, whereas they are 16–9–2 away. After winning a back-to-back set prior to the All-Star weekend, the Flames are taking a three-game winning streak into their home stand.

The month of February sees the Flames play eight games at home compared to just three on the road. Further, the Flames are actually entirely done their Eastern Conference road games—every road game from now until the end of the season will be against Western Conference teams.

The Flames need to use February to build a rhythm that they’ve sorely missed so far throughout the first half. No better way to do that than at home in front of Flames fans. So with all that, this week’s poll looks at what fans might expect from the Flames on this home stand.

Opening against the Golden Knights and Maple Leafs

Facing off against the Vegas Golden Knights and Toronto Maple Leafs in a back-to-back set represents a tough open to the Flames’ home stand. The Golden Knights are 27–16–3, good for a 0.620 points percentage (the Flames follow extremely closely behind at 0.619—the two teams are virtually tied). The Leafs on the other hand sit at 29–10–3 and are fourth in the league in terms of points percentage with a mark of 0.726, nearly capturing three quarters of all available points.

The Flames could realistically see any outcome in either of these games. They could continue their relentless onslaught and catch these two teams off guard, or the visitors could stymie them and prevent Calgary from establishing the pace—not to mention the Leafs will be rested with three days between games.

It’d be nice to see the Flames capture some, if not all of the available points here, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they left them all on the table either.

The Islanders come to town

The Flames then face off against the New York Islanders. The Flames would have had one day of rest, whereas the Islanders will be the tired team, scheduled to play against the Edmonton Oilers the night prior.

The Islanders haven’t exactly had a great season, as they went into the All-Star break under .500, having 38 points in 39 games. The team was shutdown by COVID earlier in the season and wasn’t able to bounce back.

New York’s playoff hopes are well out the window, and they are exactly the type of team the Flames need to capitalise on and make a statement out of. Picking up both points is a near necessity. The last time these two teams faced off, the Flames actually logged the first ever NHL win in the UBS Arena.

Back-to-back against Columbus and Anaheim

The Flames then have another back-to-back set. The Columbus Blue Jackets are another team under .500 that the Flames have beaten (or rather, completely dominated) already, whereas the Anaheim Ducks are a divisional rival who are stubbornly refusing to go away.

In the first matchup against the Blue Jackets, the two teams will both be well rested—each having two days in between games. Will the Flames set another franchise record? Or will the Blue Jackets be more formidable opponents this time around?

Currently, the Ducks are ahead of the Flames in the standings by three points, but have played six more games. Who knows how things will look when these two teams face off for their third contest of the season, but the Flames would very much like to secure the divisional points.

So far, the Flames lost in overtime and then won a shootout against Anaheim. Not exactly inspiring results, so a clear-cut win would be nice to see.

Giordano’s return to Calgary

Mark Giordano’s first game back in Calgary was initially supposed to be in December. However with the Flames shut down, his first regular season appearance in Calgary in a non-Flames uniform is finally approaching. It’ll be a night of celebration for Giordano—a tribute for the Flames’ long-time captain is a surefire event.

However, keeping business business, this is a game the Flames should absolutely be winning. The Seattle Kraken have not had a great inaugural season and are the worst team in the Pacific. Only the Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens are below them in league standings.

Both the Flames and Kraken will have one day of rest before facing off.

Winnipeg visits again

The Flames will close out their homestead against the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets were victorious over the Flames once already this season, and after this game the two won’t face off again until Game 82 of the season for both teams.

Both teams will also have one day off between games as well. Calgary will want to even up the series or else they’d lose both home games against a struggling Jets squad.

Records so far

Below is a table of the Flames’ record this season so far against their next seven opponents.

OpponentFlames’ 2021–22 Record vs Opp.Game Outcomes
VGK0–1–0CGY 2 @ 3 VGK
TOR0–0–1CGY 1 @ 2 TOR (OT)
NYI1–0–0CGY 5 @ 2 NYI
CBJ1–0–0CGY 6 @ 0 CBJ
ANA1–0–1ANA 3 @ 2 CGY (OT)
CGY 4 @ 3 ANA (SO)
SEA1–0–0CGY 6 @ 4 SEA
WPG0–1–0WPG 4 @ 2 CGY

Time to make a statement

Going through the schedule, it looks very reasonable to expect that the Flames can come out of this home stand with at least 10 of 14 possible points. Some caveats depends on how they perform on back-to-backs, how they manage their goaltending, and the everlasting elephant in the room of how they’ll get depth scoring.

The runaway result on the poll suggests most people feel this way as well. There are expectations established for this team and falling short would be disappointing. That said, if the Flames pick up some points against their first two opponents, then in a way they earn a bit of leeway. Let’s see just how well the Flames end up playing.

Which games are you most excited to see? Do you think the Flames can win them all? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @wincolumnCGY.

Photo by Terence Leung/NHLI via Getty Images

Back to top button