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The Landlubber’s Guide to the Calgary Flames

Alberta’s “other team” is doing just fine, thank you very much...

Dallas Stars v Calgary Flames Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

Hey you. You’re swept up in all this Seattle Kraken hype. You want to know more about hockey but don’t know where to start. Well, we want to help make these games easy and fun for you to watch.

Throughout the season, we’ll release Landlubber’s Guides designed with the new fan in mind. This includes basic need-to-know info for you to absorb before you watch Kraken games and highlights.

Let’s dive into the Calgary Flames.

Are They Any Good?

No two ways about it: yes, they are. The Flames are 28-13-6 and in possession of first place in the Pacific Division; their home record is 12-4-4, which includes an active eight-game home win streak dating back to January 13th; and they are 9-1-0 in their last 10, having won their last eight games in a row. During that 10-game stretch Calgary has scored four goals or more in all but one game, and averaged just two goals against during that stretch. They are obliterating opponents with great regularity — in the last 5 games alone they have outscored opponents 28-8.

A lot of their success this year comes from a healthy roster. Setting aside the two week period when they had nearly the entire team ensconced in COVID protocol — the games they had scheduled during that time were canceled. Beyond that, 15 players on the roster have missed only 1 game or fewer this season. Get that many guys playing together regularly and you’re going to see better results.

Who Should I Look Out For?

The Flames have four 20-goal scorers in Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane, Johnny Gaudreau, and Elias Lindholm, with Mangiapane having already reached the 25-goal plateau. They are a relentless quartet of offensive prowess. Here is Tkachuk making Robin Lehner look foolish:

Calgary’s defense has allowed the 7th fewest shots against so far this season, but they also light the lamp. Here’s youngster Oliver Kylington finishing the tic-tac-tic-tac-toe play against a helpless Jake Oettinger:

And goaltender Jacob Markstrom has finally lived up to the promise he showed during his time in Vancouver, with 21 wins and a 2.12 GAA to go along with eight shutouts — yes, eight; good for first in the league, and double the number of the guys in second place.

Any Seattle Ties?

The biggest one is Kraken captain Mark Giordano, who as you know played his entire 15 year career in Calgary before being left exposed in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. Recently-acquired Kraken forward Austin Czarnik also played for the Flames between 2018 and 2020. And finally there’s Byron Froese and Dustin Wolf, two former Everett Silvertips, who are with the Flames organization but playing in the minors.

Apart from that, Kraken forward Brandon Tanev’s brother Chris is one of the anchors of the Flames’ defense. Shame we won’t see the two brothers in action against each other tonight, with knee surgery having ended Brandon’s season.

Odds & Ends

  • The Flames were involved in the trade that got the deadline-deals season underway this year, swapping Tylers with the Montreal Canadiens — Kraken legend Tyler Pitlick heading to Montreal, with Calgary adding Tyler Toffoli. The Flames’ new Tyler scored in his debut with the team on Tuesday, a 6-2 rout of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

  • To give you a graphical sampling of the Flames’ offensive capabilities, here’s the “Heat Map” from Wednesday’s obliteration of the Anaheim Ducks. Shots were 43-28 in favor of Calgary. Unreal...
Courtesy NaturalStatTrick.com
  • The Flames’ power play is middle of the pack, but their PK has been punishingly efficient. They allow power play goals against only 3 out of every 20 tries on average, good for 3rd place in the league. So the Kraken (and their 3rd-worst power play) can’t rely on special teams to bail them out if they fall behind.
  • The aforementioned Johnny Gaudreau notched his 366th and 367th helpers in Wednesday’s 6-2 win over Anaheim. Those assists put him past former Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano for 5th overall in Flames history.

Tonight’s game begins at 7pm Pacific and will be broadcast on ROOT Sports NW locally and ESPN+ for out-of-market subscribers. Tune in to 950 AM KJR for the local radio broadcast; satellite radio listeners can find the game on SiriusXM channel 91.