A severe goal-scoring drought for the Calgary Flames produced a dismal end to a five-game homestand that had started with so much promise. After a dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind shootout win over the St.Louis Blues, the Flames could muster only a measly one goal in their next four games. Sean Monahan‘s goal in a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers is the only Flame marker in the last 245 minutes of play. The team was blanked for the third time in four home contests as they dropped a 2-0 verdict to the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.
Not even the return of defenseman Dennis Wideman after a 16-game absence because of a broken hand could provide a boost to a Flames team that is clearly lacking in confidence at the moment. The amount of quality shots on goal were at a minimum as goaltender Ben Bishop had a relatively easy night in making 19 saves to post the shutout for the Lightning. The entire night could be symbolized by a futile stretch in the third period. The Lightning were doing their best to allow the Flames to get back into the contest by taking penalties. However, instead of reducing a two-goal deficit by producing a power play marker, it was actually Tampa sniper Martin St.Louis who had the best scoring chances while short-handed. Since a late third period PP goal by Mark Giordano against the Blues, the Flames have gone 0-for-11 with the man advantage.
Flame netminder Karri Ramo did his best to keep the team in the contest, making a number of excellent saves amongst the 27 he turned away on the night. However, once again the offensive drought was the club’s undoing. The Flames continue to struggle on home ice this season as they fell to 7-11-3 in what are supposed to be the friendly confines of the Saddledome. The team did very little to generate much enthusiasm from the home faithful. Head coach Bob Hartley and his staff are likely at wit’s end as they’ve tried juggling line combinations to find a spark, but it’s just not there at the moment. The latest loss dropped the team to 14-21-6 on the season, and unless the offense awakens the poor results will continue.
After a difficult stretch at home the Flames will hope to find their absent scoring touch when they tangle with the Colorado Avalanche to begin a two-game road trip.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports