The Flames are having a tough time


The Calgary Flames may still have a bright future, but the present has gotten to be a real struggle.

The Flames lost their seventh in a row last night, falling 6-3 in Buffalo. Dating back to mid-February, they’ve only won once in their last 11.

“We’re a proud organization and obviously we’re showing up — whether it’s in our rink or visiting rinks — with the firm intention of winning games,” head coach Bob Hartley told reporters Thursday. “And we leave some good efforts on the table. If we wouldn’t work, there would be something for concern.

“But obviously, right now, we need some practice time. We need a little time off also to re-focus and re-fuel, because our focus is not at the right place.”

Practice time, unfortunately, may be hard to come by. The Flames play tomorrow afternoon in Pittsburgh, before flying home to face San Jose on Monday. They don’t have consecutive days off until next weekend.

The Flames’ biggest problem has been keeping the puck out of their net. In their last 11 games, they’ve allowed at least four goals on seven separate occasions. Three times they’ve surrendered six goals.

That’s not all on the goalies, but some of it is. Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo, and Joni Ortio have combined to give Calgary the lowest team save percentage (.893) in the NHL.

With no netminder signed for next season, speculation has the Flames targeting the likes of Frederik Andersen or James Reimer in the summer. They’ve reportedly inquired about Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray, to no avail so far.

On the bright side, the Flames had two players, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, named to Team North America’s first 16, and they could have one more in Dougie Hamilton.

They should get a pretty good youngster in the upcoming draft as well, possibly even Auston Matthews.