The Calgary Flames have turned up the offense in the absence of two key defensemen.
With team captain Mark Giordano (hamstring) and fellow blue-liner Travis Hamonic (upper body) out with injuries, the Flames seem to be concentrating on putting the puck in the net.
On a four-game road trip (3-1-0) that started last Saturday and ended with Thursday’s 6-0 win against Anaheim, the Flames scored 21 goals overall and six in each of their three wins.
They return home Saturday night for a tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks — a team which could cause problems for a team hungry for two points in the tightly contested Pacific Division.
The Flames entered Friday tied with Edmonton and Vegas for second in the division with 66 points, three behind leader Vancouver. And Arizona sits two points behind the trio.
“We got a lot of depth scoring on this trip,” goaltender Cam Talbot, who shut out the Ducks, told reporters of the rediscovered offense.
“Everybody contributed throughout the lineup, our D chipped in with some goals. Our fourth line got a bunch in San Jose the other night.”
Talbot posted his first shutout as a member of the Flames, the 21st of his career and his first since making 39 saves in a 4-0 win over the Ducks on Jan. 6, 2019, while with the Edmonton Oilers.
“I felt like I controlled the game the best I could,” he said. “I didn’t leave too much laying around for them to bang in but a lot of their shots came from the outside and that makes it easy for me to control it.”
It’s also easier when the team has a solid performance in front of him.
“Whenever you’re getting contributions up and down the lineup, you’re going to win more often than not,” Talbot said.
On the other side of Saturday’s ticket, the Blackhawks are getting the chances, they just aren’t converting.
Chicago recorded a season-high 49 shots on net in a 3-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. They were stymied at every turn as Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom recorded his second shutout of the season.
It was the fifth straight loss for a team only five years out from winning a Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks are watching their hopes fade in the race for a Western Conference wild card this season, as well.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t find ways to find the back of the net and open the game up a little bit, especially with the way we were playing,” said team captain Jonathan Toews. “All four lines were engaged.”
Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton wasn’t disappointed in his crew’s effort.
The win just didn’t come.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Colliton said. “Obviously, it’s tough to go in there after that kind of effort and another loss but ultimately the only way we’re going to get wins is by playing to a similar level. It kind of reinforces the lost opportunity of the last couple of games when we weren’t at that level. Now all of a sudden we play well and we don’t get the win and we’re on a little bit of a slide.”
The Blackhawks allowed a season-low 20 shots on goal but dropped to 25-24-8 on the season.
–Field Level Media