5 Takeaways From Calgary Flames’ January Play

By Shaun Lavery

5 Takeaways From Calgary Flames’ January Play

Calgary Flames
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Just prior to their Jan. 31 game against the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames have a record of 5-5 in the month of January; not good, but not too bad either. Calgary was streaky this past month, starting out with three-straight losses, then winning four-straight. Overall, their play is graded at a satisfactory level. Here are five takeaways from January.

5. Road Warriors

Calgary Flames Starts 2014-15
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

5. Road Warriors

Calgary Flames Starts 2014-15
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary posted a record of 4-1 on the road in January, an impressive number especially considering the teams they played. The west coast road trip is one which teams are expected to do poorly on, but the Flames did very well beating the likes of the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks. Any time you can leave California with only one loss in the NHL, you know you did well.

4. Sean Monahan Bounced Back

Sean Monahan Calgary Flames 2014-15
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

4. Sean Monahan Bounced Back

Sean Monahan Calgary Flames 2014-15
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Monahan hadn’t scored in 13 games until the Jan. 15 contest against the Arizona Coyotes. Upon scoring against the Coyotes, Monahan went on a five-game point streak that was crucial to the team's success on the western road trip. This proved that if the team wants to win, Monahan needs to be a top producer on offense.

3. Special Teams Still Need Improvement

Calgary Flames Keys To Success In 2015
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

3. Special Teams Still Need Improvement

Calgary Flames Keys To Success In 2015
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Coming out of January, the Flames rank in the bottom seven of both power play and penalty kill. Special teams can really change the momentum of a game if you take advantage of it, something the Flames haven’t quite done. These are both areas of the team’s game that will need major improvement to give Calgary the best chance at making it through to the postseason.

2. Johnny Gaudreau Still in Calder Contention

Johnny Gaudreau Calgary Flames 2014-15
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

2. Johnny Gaudreau Still in Calder Contention

Johnny Gaudreau Calgary Flames 2014-15
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Posting seven points in January, including a two-goal game against the Buffalo Sabres, Johnny Gaudreau is doing all he can to remain in conversation as the league’s top rookie. He currently sits second in points on the Flames, and is looked to every night for offensive production. It will be a tight race between Gaudreau, Filip Forsberg and Aaron Ekblad for the Calder Trophy come June.

1. Joni Ortio Might Be Flames’ Goalie of the Future

Joni Ortio Battling For Roster Spot With Calgary Flames
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Joni Ortio Might Be Flames’ Goalie of the Future

Joni Ortio Battling For Roster Spot With Calgary Flames
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After Karri Ramo was placed on injured reserve, and Jonas Hiller had a rough game, Joni Ortio stepped in net for Calgary and came up huge. He led the charge during the western road trip, starting every game and posting a 4-1 record with an outstanding 93.1 save percentage and a 1.98 goals against average. Those numbers will make Flames management think long and hard about what to do in net for the coming years.

Shaun Lavery is a Calgary Flames writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, or add him to your network on Google

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