It’s been anything but home sweet home for the Calgary Flames. Their stretch of poor play in front of their home fans reached a new low with a 5-2 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Jets. The Jets rolled to an early lead and were never threatened in posting their second straight win under new head coach Paul Maurice. The Flames produced very little in the way of scoring chances in the first two periods against Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec, and by the time goals did come from Mark Giordano and Lance Bouma, the team’s fate had already been sealed.
The Flames dropped their seventh straight at home, establishing a new team record for futility. It surpassed the previous mark of six consecutive home-ice losses that had stood since 1998. The current stretch couldn’t be more abysmal. The Flames have been shut out in four of those seven losses and have produced a measly four goals in total while surrendering 22 goals against. It was a rough night between the pipes for Flames goalie Reto Berra against the Jets as he allowed five goals on just 23 shots.
The Flames have given their home fans very little to get excited about for the last few weeks other than tough-guy Brian McGrattan winning his fights. The team isn’t getting much in the way of shots on goal or scoring chances, and the entire roster seems snake-bitten playing in what should be the friendly confines of the Saddledome. Even when getting chances on the power play, the team’s performance with the extra man has deteriorated into a two-minute buzzkill. That trend continued with three listless power play opportunities against Winnipeg.
At the start of this season it was expected that the Flames would likely be doormats in the tremendously tough Western Conference, but head coach Bob Hartley saw his team respond with a surprisingly good start. Those early feel-good vibes are long gone as the grim reality of a team going through a major rebuild has definitely kicked in for both the organization and the fanbase. Key injuries throughout the season haven’t helped as the team just doesn’t have the depth to make up for it. The Flames have plummeted to 16-26-6 on the season, and to make matters worse they are just 7-14-3 at home. Their passionate fans deserve far better than what they’ve had to witness and endure since late December. It hasn’t been pretty to watch, and as a result patience seems to be wearing thin.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports