Flames season summed up

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:25 PM ET

The Calgary Flames season can be summed up in three games from this season.

Look at the trio of clashes during the now-completed sojourn from New York to Boston to Washington and it’s put together in one concise microcosm.

So much potential. So much disappointment.

So much opportunity. So little achieved.

So little consistency.

The Flames showed it all in their three-game trip, which included losses to the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins only to end it with a surprising victory over the league-leading Washington Capitals.

The good was on display nearly every second of the 5-3 win over the Capitals Sunday.

Four first-period goals. Powerplay production. The Washington stars were kept completely in check, or at least in the case of the always dangerous Alex Ovechkin, close enough.

The Flames were tenacious from the drop of the puck, assertive and aggressive on the forecheck, and when the high-flying Capitals began and sustained their to-be-expected push to come back, they were very good at keeping most of the shots to the outside, blocked a crazy amount of offerings and goalie Miikka Kiprusoff sealed the deal.

How many fans watched the performance and screamed out hallelujahs?

How many more watched with excitement, while at the same time were absolutely disappointed from not seeing that kind of performance, that kind of effort, often enough?

Let’s face it, two more outings in the same manner through that trip would have the Flames tied with the Colorado Avalanche for eighth place in the Western Conference playoff chase.

How many fans didn’t bother watching the Capitals game simply because of what we witnessed in Boston the day before and a couple of nights earlier against the New York Islanders?

That would be understandable.

Consistency is an overused word in pro hockey, but the Flames shocking lack of consistency truly came to a head.

Think of their sluggish start against the Islanders in Thursday’s 3-2 loss. Instead of taking advantage of a team going nowhere, coming off a thumping the night before against the New York Rangers and playing their third-string goalie, the Flames came out of the starting blocks so slowly, you’d think they missed the starter’s pistol.

Eight minutes to fire a first shot on goal.

No offensive chances of note over three powerplay opportunities.

An inability to hold a lead.

And just think, it became worse in Beantown in a 5-0 beatdown.

To be fair, the Flames came out with some jump, but let’s be honest. Knowing full well the loss to the Islanders made their playoff hopes even more dire, shouldn’t they have?

The way it fell apart after going down by two goals early in the second period, though, was appalling.

Over an 82-game season, there will be ups and downs. Too many variables, too many games and too much parity won’t allow a team to slam around everybody else enough to threaten the kind of seasons we saw from the Montreal Canadiens in the 1970s, Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s and Detroit Red Wings of the 1990s.

Even the Washington Capitals had plenty of ebb and flow in the embarrassingly awful Southeast Division before they started to pull away.

Still, the Flames have been as Jekyll and Hyde as any team in the league to their detriment, and quite likely their demise.

A seven-game winning streak won’t change the fact the Flames have been all over the map too often this season.

It may not even put them into the playoffs.

But the least they can do for all those supporters who have gone through too many emotional swings is put up something of a fight over their final six games.

Show the urgency and desperation coach Brent Sutter has been begging for since training camp opened and too many players have simply paid lip service to trying.

Stringing together a half-dozen more 60-minute efforts over the next two weeks would at least put an acceptable taste in peoples’ mouths.

If they don’t, it will mean more of the same-old, same-old.

Consistently inconsistent.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca


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