This Calgary Flames team has been exceptional this season. After an abysmal 2020–21 season, the Flames came back with mostly the same pieces for this year, but have managed to turn things around substantially under head Coach Darryl Sutter. And while we all know they have been very good, they have officially made NHL history, becoming the first NHL team ever to win every game in a seven-game (or longer) homestand!
The Flames are the hottest team in the league
The Flames are currently on a 10-game winning streak, one which has seen them beat up on some of the best teams in the league, including the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights, as well as some of the league’s worst in the Seattle Kraken and Arizona Coyotes.
What’s more is how convincingly they have won each of those games. They beat Vegas and Toronto by a combined score of 11–2, and have an overall combined score of 42–15, outscoring their opponents at nearly a three-to-one ratio.
Analytically, the Flames have been dominant across the board. Only one Flames skater is below 50% in the shot differential category: Dillon Dube at 49%. Only Milan Lucic has fewer expected goals for than against, again at 49%. The team is getting chances and goals from up and down the lineup, while they are getting outstanding netminding from their goalies in both Jacob Markstrom and Daniel Vladar.
Sights on more Flames records
On Thursday night, the Flames have a chance to set a team record by winning their eleventh straight win. Only two previous Flames teams have made it to a 10-game win streak: The Atlanta Flames in 1978–79 and the Glen Gulutzan-coached Calgary Flames in 2016–17.
History was not kind to both teams. Both finished fourth in their respective divisions, with the Atlanta team finishing fourth in the Patrick Division while the Calgary team finished the same in the Pacific. Both teams would then go on to be swept in the first round of the playoffs, Atlanta to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary to the Anaheim Ducks. The good news is this Calgary Flames team currently sits first in the Pacific, and, barring a monumental collapse, are unlikely to drop to fourth in the division.
At the top of league
This win streak also ties the NHL record for wins this season with ten. The Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins both made it to ten games but no further, losing to the Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars respectively. Both Colorado and Pittsburgh lost to teams that they should have probably beat, which should be a lesson for the Flames to take the Canucks seriously later this week.
The all-time record for wins in a season is 17, held by the Pittsburgh Penguins of 1992–93. That team had four-100 point scorers in Mario Lemieux (160), Kevin Stevens (111), Rick Tocchet (109), and Ron Francis (100), and finished top of the Patrick Division. They would however go on to lose in the second round of the playoffs in seven games to the New York Islanders.
With this current Flames team winning more by committee than by individual brilliance, it seems unlikely they finish the year with four scorers over the 100-point mark. That being said, the sky’s the limit for this current win streak.
The schedule does however get tougher after Thursday. They have a home-and-home against the Minnesota Wild, who sit second in the Central Division, then come home to face the Montreal Canadiens, a team they have not yet beaten this season. Then the real test comes on March 5th when the Flames head to Colorado to take on the league-leading Avalanche.
Continuing to win won’t be an easy task by any stretch, but the Flames have been very good against top opponents this season. If they can execute on their gameplan and continue to get excellent two-way production from up and down the lineup, the Flames could extend their win streak and further set some marks in the history books.
Photo credits: Gerry Thomas/Calgary Flames