Calgary Flames

Blake Coleman, Milan Lucic on need for second-half surge

Some form of regression was inevitable for this year’s Flames, who cruised to the Pacific Division title with a 111-point season in 2021–22.

But they’ve definitely performed below expectations up to this point. Replacing the production of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk was never going to be easy, but the acquisitions of MacKenzie Weegar, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Nazem Kadri left Flames fans with good reason to believe that the team would remain firmly in Stanley Cup contention.

There’s still more than half a season to go, but the Flames know that they have to start picking it up, and quickly. Blake Coleman and Milan Lucic, two battle-tested veterans with a combined three Stanley Cup rings, have stressed this message.

“It’s a goal that we set to start the year,” Coleman said, per Gilbertson. “I think if you can be in that spot at Christmastime, you feel like you have a good foundation to build on. Being a point or two out isn’t that much different, honestly, but it’s one of those things where you want to feel validated for the work.

“And honestly, if we’re in a playoff spot with the way that the past few months have gone, it’s a fortunate thing because we have a lot better to offer.”

Lucic added that the Flames are aware that they “can be better,” though it’s pivotal that they “get better sooner than later.”

The Flames and archrival Edmonton Oilers (coming off a trip to the Western Conference Final) are vying for the Pacific Division’s No. 2 and 3 seeds and the conference’s final two wild card spots.

Ontario launched sports betting apps back in April, allowing NHL fans in the province to place wagers on their favorite teams. There is a long list of different bets you can place through the Ontario Sportsbooks such as FanDuel, BetRivers, and BetMGM Ontario. This includes over/under totals, money lines, futures (award winners, champions, etc.), and parlays.

Scoring has been hard to come by for the Flames, who are still trying to get by without Johnny Gaudreau (signed with Columbus) and Matthew Tkachuk (traded to the Florida Panthers). Only time will tell if the two Pacific Division heavyweights manage to turn it up a notch in the second half. It’s certainly tough to bet against a Sutter-coached team with this much talent, though.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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