The Calgary Flames won a hockey game last night.
What else is new?
The Flames’ most recent victory, highlighted by a hat trick from rookie Josh Jooris, was a 5-2 defeat of the Coyotes. The result improved Calgary’s record to 16-8-2, good for third in the tough Pacific Division and ninth overall.
“This year has been exciting for all of us. Young guys are coming in, they’re excited because it’s their first year,” defenseman Dennis Wideman said. “We’re having a lot of fun, we’re playing the right way and we’re playing hard. And for the older guys, it makes it exciting to come to the rink.”
And yet, the more the Flames win, the more the debate builds over the sustainability of their winning ways. Calgary’s PDO, a statistic that combines shooting percentage and save percentage, is third highest in the NHL, according to war-on-ice.com. In a related story, the Flames have won nine games in which they’ve been outshot, tied for most in the league. On top of that, they’ve won five games that they’ve trailed after two periods, the outright most in the league.
Translation: they’ve been lucky. And, eventually, their luck will run out.
At least, that’s what the naysayers will argue. The believers will say the Flames bear down and convert on their chances, and when they fall behind in games, they never give up. Because — shrug — that’s what good teams do.
Whichever side of the debate you support, the fact remains that Calgary has 34 points in the bank. To match the record that earned the Dallas Stars the final Western Conference playoff spot in 2013-14, the Flames would merely have to go 24-23-9 the rest of the way. Eminently doable, even for a mediocre team.
With seven wins in their last nine, the Flames host struggling Colorado Thursday before welcoming San Jose to town Saturday. That Sharks game could prove significant, as San Jose is one of the teams currently on the outside of the playoff picture that surely has the Flames, six points ahead in the standings, in its sights.