The Calgary Flames had a glimmer of hope that quickly vanished. As the Flames heated up, they hit a dampener on their route to the playoffs as the Winnipeg Jets also went on a tear of their own. The Flames couldn’t keep pace after both teams strung together wins. Calgary faltered in two shootout losses whereas the Jets kept rolling and won enough to stay ahead of Calgary for good. In ultimate 2022–23 Flames fashion, the second shootout loss against the Nashville Predators eliminated them from playoff contention.
Calling this season painful is the understatement of the century. Whatever could have went wrong for the Flames practically did go wrong. Aside from a few bright spots, much of the season was clouded over by doom and gloom.
A single Game 82 hat trick to celebrate in Calgary
To add to the gloom (which there is no shortage of), this season was seconds away from marking another low in franchise history. The Flames nearly went an entire season without posting at least one hat trick. With exactly one minute left in the game, Nikita Zadorov picked up an empty-netter to post the Flames’ first hat trick of the year.
Yes, you read that right. Over the course of the Flames’ season, it took them 82 games for possibly one of the least likely suspects to score three goals in a game. No offence to Zadorov but him being the sole hat trick scorer this season was something no one would have saw coming heading into the season.
Out of 4,920 minutes of regulation hockey played in a season, the Flames’ first hat trick came in minute 4,919. Include overtime and of course it’d take even longer. But at least they ended up logging a hat trick after all.
Good on Zadorov on capping off a decent season for himself with caps on the ice.
Flames with two-goal games
Before Game 82, there have been just a total of 15 games this season where a Flame scored two goals. Tyler Toffoli owns six of them. Of the 15 games, two of them saw two different players reach the coveted two-goal threshold, meaning there have been 17 total instances if two-goal games for the Flames this season.
On March 16 versus the Vegas Golden Knights, both Blake Coleman and Toffoli scored two goals; and on December 20 against the San Jose Sharks, both Nazem Kadri and—you guessed it—Toffoli scored two goals.
Although we’re looking at hat tricks, another painful point (or lack of points) comes in the form of the Flames’ overall offence. Only on two occasions this season did a player score at least four points in a game (Toffoli once, Dillon Dube once). Compare that to last season where there were 12 unique instances of this happening.
Hat tricks from years bygone
Now let’s look at all seasons in the Flames franchise history and take a look at who scored hat tricks over the years.
The has only been one season in franchise history where the Flames were held to no hat tricks: 2016–17. That year, 15 instances of two-goal games were seen but no one scored the elusive third goal in a game. At least that version of the Flames made the playoffs though, which can’t be said about this year’s iteration.
Over the seasons, the Flames have had ebbs and flows in hat trick offence. Of course, their most potent hat trick seasons came in the 80s—many, many decades ago. Here’s the full franchise breakdown. To keep things simple, I’ll sum all hat tricks and group players together per season, and instances where someone scored four or more goals are still classified as a hat trick.
All data is from NHL.com.
|2021–22||3||Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Johnny Gaudreau|
|2018–19||3||Johnny Gaudreau (2x), Matthew Tkachuk|
|2017–18||3||Mark Jankowski, Sean Monahan, Dougie Hamilton|
|2015–16||6||Johnny Gaudreau (2x), Michael Frolik (2x), Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett|
|2014–15||3||Johnny Gaudreau, Josh Jooris, Mason Raymond|
|2012–13||2||Curtis Glencross, Michael Cammalleri|
|2011–12||2||Lee Stempniak, Olli Jokinen|
|2010–11||3||Jarome Iginla (2x), Rene Bourque|
|2009–10||4||Jarome Iginla (2x), Rene Bourque, Curtis Glencross|
|2008–09||6||Michael Cammalleri (2x), Jarome Iginla, Rene Bourque, David Moss, Olli Jokinen|
|2007–08||5||Jarome Iginla (2x), Kristian Huselius, Daymond Langkow, Owen Nolan|
|2003–04||3||Jarome Iginla, Matthew Lombardi, Shean Donovan|
|2002–03||2||Jarome Iginla (2x)|
|2001–02||2||Jarome Iginla, Marc Savard|
|1998–99||2||Theoren Fleury (2x)|
|1997–98||3||Valeri Bure, Cory Stillman, Marty McInnis|
|1996–97||2||Theoren Fleury, German Titov|
|1995–96||6||Gary Roberts (3x), Theoren Fleury (3x)|
|1994–95||3||German Titov, Ronnie Stern, Joe Nieuwendyk|
|1993–94||7||Gary Roberts (2x), Robert Reichel (2x), Joel Otto, Joe Nieuwendyk, Theoren Fleury|
|1992–93||9||Gary Roberts (2x), Robert Reichel (2x), Joe Nieuwendyk, Sergei Makarov, Gary Leeman, Ronnie Stern, Theoren Fleury|
|1991–92||5||Gary Roberts (2x), Al MacInnis, Paul Ranheim, Ronnie Stern|
|1990–91||7||Theoren Fleury (5x), Sergei Makarov (2x)|
|1989–90||5||Brian MacLellan, Joe Mullen, Dana Murzyn, Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts|
|1988–89||11||Joe Mullen (4x), Mark Hunter (3x), Joe Nieuwyndyk (2x), Jiri Hrdina (2x)|
|1987–88||11||Hakan Loob (5x), Joe Nieuwendyk (4x), Brett Hull, John Tonelli|
|1986–87||2||Joel Otto, Paul Reinhart|
|1985–86||2||Carey Wilson (2x)|
|1984–85||6||Kent Nilsson (3x), Eddy Beers (2x), Steve Tambellini|
|1983–84||7||Eddy Beers (3x), Lanny McDonald (2x), Hakan Loob, Doug Risebrough|
|1982–83||10||Lanny McDonald (5x), Kent Nilsson (5x)|
|1981–82||11||Lanny McDonald (2x), Kent Nilsson (2x), Ken Houston (2x), Gary McAdam (2x), Jim Peplinski, Bobby Gould, Eric Vail|
|1980–81||8||Kent Nilsson (3x), Ken Houston, Guy Chouinard, Dan Labraaten, Bob MacMillan, Willi Plett|
No offence, Calgary
The Flames simply needed a potent offence to offset the goaltending issues, but they instead played in one-goal games for nearly half the games in the season. Last year, they scored 293 goals compared to this seasons’ 260. While that may not seem like a lot, they only allowed 208 goals last year compared to this year’s 252. For those doing the math, that’s a change in differential from +85 to +8.
No one will point to the scoreboard and say the sole reason the Flames did so poorly was a lack of hat tricks. However, this is just another stat that marred the Flames’ season. No hats off to them.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire