After enduring some injuries, slumps from a few players and some very poor play at times, the Calgary Flames returned home with a 4-2 record on their recent road trip.
By the time the Flames played the Winnipeg Jets – the last stop on the trip – multiple key pieces of the lineup had sat out for one reason or another. Fortunately for the Flames, as mentioned, their absences didn’t affect the overall results too negatively.
Facing the Edmonton Oilers with a relatively healthy lineup – Dennis Wideman was the only regular not in the lineup – Calgary came out with a 5-2 win to start the trip. That was in large part thanks to Mason Raymond’s hat-trick, while Karri Ramo did his part to earn his first win as a Flame.
Two days later, facing the St. Louis Blues, the Flames were without Jiri Hudler due to a flu bug that had already hit Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. They could have used his offensive ability as they lost 4-1, getting outshot 39-24 in the process.
Next up were the Nashville Predators who had gotten out to an impressive 2-0 start – albeit in a small sample size. Hudler made his return and quickly made his impact felt with an assist on the team’s second goal, en route to the team eventually picking up a 3-2 win in the shootout.
While the win against the Predators was impressive, the biggest challenge was awaiting them the following night. Facing the Chicago Blackhawks in their second of back-to-back games Calgary had to play without the injured Deryk Engelland and Lance Bouma on top of David Jones who had already missed multiple games.
Despite a visibly fatigued Flames team being outshot 18-2 in the first period the game remained scoreless. Chicago’s domination continued in the second period, but it was Wideman who was the first to find the back of the net, giving Calgary a 1-0 lead.
But the Flames weren’t able to hold off the Blackhawks for long, and with just under six minutes left in the third Andrew Shaw tipped in a point shot to tie the game. But a tie was the best the ‘Hawks could do as Mikael Backlund finished off a surprising win for the Flames with 25 seconds left in OT.
In the following game against the Columbus Blue Jackets Gaudreau was given the night off to gather himself after getting out to a slow start to the season. With Jones officially going on the IR, Josh Jooris was recalled and promptly scored in his debut. His goal pulled the Flames to within one goal of tying the game, but they wouldn’t get any closer as they lost 3-2.
Then, against the Jets, Gaudreau found his way back into the lineup – scoring the game-winning-goal – while Raymond continued his hot start, picking up a goal and two assists. But just one game after being recalled Jooris was already out because of injury, joining Engelland who missed his third straight game.
While Calgary’s overall record is 4-3, they have played surprisingly well, especially against some tough opponents. Fans shouldn’t be too quick to declare the rebuild over – look at last season’s end result after the good start – but if this is the kind of action fans can expect then the season shouldn’t be totally unbearable.