Slow Start Again Proves Costly for Calgary Flames

Bob Hartley

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

As the Calgary Flames fell 5-3 to the Winnipeg Jets in their final home game of the season, the outcome was predictable heading into the first intermission.

The Flames found themselves trailing the Jets 2-0 after one period of play. When trailing after the first period this season, the Flames have managed to win exactly 25 percent of those games. If that doesn’t highlight how important starting a game strong is for head coach Bob Hartley‘s crew, few other stats will. With that in mind, for the Flames to come out in their final home game of the season and get outplayed out of the gates by a Winnipeg team who had their No. 3 goalie in was a big disappointment. Remember, Calgary was also coming into play riding a four-game winning streak.

Yes, you could probably say these final couple games are meaningless, in the sense that they have no impact on the standings. A loss will further boost your chances of getting a higher draft pick this summer. While both arguments are true, it was still a little sullen to see the Jets, who are also out of any sort of contention as well, come out with more energy and take a rightful lead.

Looking at the box score for the remaining two periods, where the Flames outshot the Jets 30-13, can also be a bit misleading. Calgary benefited from five Jet penalties over the final two frames, resulting in two goals. Of course, it is nice to see your special teams play well, but the game always appeared just out of reach, even at 3-3.

Is it fair to be this hard on the Flames at this stage of the season? Maybe, maybe not. With a four-game winning streak on the line and the final game of the season in front of the “C of Red,” I am sure I wasn’t the only one expecting a better opening 20 minutes.

Jamey Holt is a Calgary Flames writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @sportsthinktank or add him to your network on Google

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