Thursday, March 4, 2021

This week in Flames — 3 Things We Know, 3 Things We Don’t

This week in Flames — 3 Things We Know, 3 Things We Don’t

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Their power-play is popping

The Flames have to be satisfied with their special-teams work so far — they have already potted seven power-play goals and have surrendered only a pair while shorthanded. You’ve heard every coach say a million times that winning the special-teams battle is key to winning the game, so Geoff Ward must be encouraged by the statistics from both sides of the ledger. It would be crazy to expect Calgary’s power-play to continue clipping along at a 35% success rate, but their early-season surge is important because it has helped their star forwards — namely, Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk — find their offensive groove. Those four gents have combined for nine goals and 10 assists, with most of that damage on the man-advantage.

Markstrom will give ’em a chance

Again, it’s early, but the Flames must be feeling awfully good about the addition of goalie Jacob Markstrom. Their prized off-season signing has, so far, lived up to expectations — and those were sky-high. Although the new guy in No. 25 was saddled with Sunday’s loss, nobody is blaming this one on the backstop. In fact, each of Toronto’s goals was scored on a deflection or a funky bounce, including two that glanced off members of the home-side. What’s become obvious already is the 30-year-old Markstrom is always going to give you a chance to win, which is the biggest ask of the guy between the pipes. When his squad has sagged, like in Monday’s opening stanza against the Vancouver Canucks, he’s been at his best. That is a good sign.

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