Record: 36-27-7, 79 points
Playoff position: Third in Pacific Division, four points behind Edmonton Oilers
The Flames have overcome turmoil and inconsistency to remain a contender in the Pacific Division.
They were 11-12-4 on Nov. 25 when allegations surfaced that coach Bill Peters had used racial epithets toward a former player while coaching in the American Hockey League 11 years ago. Peters resigned Nov. 29.
Assistant Geoff Ward took over and Calgary won its next seven games. There were other surges under Ward, including a five-game winning streak Jan. 2-11 and a 5-2-1 run just before the schedule was paused.
The Flames’ scoring has sagged, at 2.91 goals per game (20th in the NHL) down from 3.52 last season (tied for second). It’s been the same on defense: Calgary has allowed 3.06 goals per game this season (tied for 15th) compared to 2.72 last season (ninth).
Video: Season Snapshot: Calgary Flames
Those declines are more unsettling given that the Flames’ core remained intact, in particular their top four forwards (Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm) and defensemen (Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic and Noah Hanifin).
Gaudreau has 58 points (18 goals, 40 assists) in 70 games this season, on pace for 67 points in 82 games after leading the Flames with 99 points (36 goals, 63 assists) in 82 games last season.
Linemate Monahan has 48 points (22 goals, 26 assists) in 70 games and is on pace for 56 points. Last season, he exceeded a point per game for the first time in his seven-season NHL career, with 82 points (34 goals, 48 assists) in 78 games.
Giordano, the Norris Trophy winner voted as the best defenseman in the NHL last season, also has found things more difficult. He had an NHL career-best season wit 74 points (17 goals, 57 assists) in 78 games and was plus-39 last season but has 31 points (five goals, 26 assists) and is plus-2 in 60 games this season. Giordano missed 10 games because of a lower-body injury (Feb. 6-25).
More Flames season snapshot coverage: Awards | Fantasy honors | Memorable moments
Andrew Mangiapane: He has taken a strong step this season, and Ward has rewarded him with more playing time (13:42 per game this season) and responsibility, sometimes in the top six forwards. After signing a one-year, two-way contract on Sept. 15, the 24-year-old forward has 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) in 68 games. Last season, he split time between the Flames (13 points in 44 games) and Stockton of the American Hockey League (17 points in 15 games).
Video: Top 10 Flames Plays … Thus Far
Flames 5, Boston Bruins 2, Feb. 25: The Flames got two goals each from Monahan and Mikael Backlund, one goal from Tkachuk and 26 saves from David Rittich on the road to neutralize one of the NHL’s top teams.
Video: Monahan, Backlund propel Flames past Bruins
Most compelling game
Flames 4, Oilers 3, Jan. 11: One of the highest-quality games of the season was played at a quick pace and with elite execution. A power-play goal by Lindholm early in the third period broke a 3-3 tie. It was Calgary’s second of three straight wins against Edmonton, further ramping up the intensity of the rivalry.
Video: Lindholm scores twice, Flames edge Oilers