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NHL Calgary Flames

Struggling Calgary Flames Face Difficult Schedule To Start March

Joey MacDonald Calgary Flames

Ron Chenoy – USA TODAY Sports

A 7-8-4 record has the Calgary Flames second-to-last in the Western Conference standings, and things aren’t looking brighter for the team anytime soon. The Flames have lost four of their last six games and will now face the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings (twice) and the Detroit Red Wings in a span of 10 days. Four of the teams Calgary is about to face would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, and the Kings sit one point out of the top eight but have played two fewer games than any team ahead of them.

One positive for the Flames while staring down this portion of their schedule is that goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff should be returning soon. Joey MacDonald has done what he can for the team while Kiprusoff has been out, picking up three wins while posting a 3.05 goals against average. The Flames’ offense would best be described as inconsistent, so it doesn’t seem to make a huge difference who is in net.

The Flames have proven they can score and have a very potent power play. Alex Tanguay leads the team with six goals and 17 points, while captain Jarome Iginla has five goals and 15 points. Tanguay, Mike Cammalleri and Dennis Wideman each have seven power play points. The penalty kill, on the other hand, is a different story. The Flames rank 25th in the league while playing a man down and face an extremely tough challenge Friday when they take on a Ducks team with the league’s second-best power play.

If the Flames hope to salvage any chance of contending this season they will need a strong showing in the next two weeks. If they can steal a win or two from the next six games and get a healthy Kiprusoff back they could be in a much better position by the middle of March.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL blogger for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to your network on Google.