Calgary Flames: Top 4 Reasons They Didn't Make the Playoffs
Once again, the Calgary Flames will have to sit by and watch this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs without taking part in them.
It’s the third year in a row Brent Sutter’s crew has failed to make it to the NHL’s second season.
A lot happens in 82 games. Hundreds of goals, hits and saves make up a team’s year, and how these factors play out determine if a team makes the playoffs or not.
The Flames have a lot to address in the coming months before next year, but first, this past season’s struggles have to be analyzed.
Let’s take a look at the top four reasons the Calgary Flames missed the playoffs this year.
4. Goal Scoring
The Flames didn't see enough celebrating this year
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Miikka Kiprusoff is one of the top goalies in the league.
He played 70 games this season, finished with a respectable save percentage of .921 and had 35 of the team’s 37 wins this year (Henrik Karlsson and Leland Irving each had one). He is probably the only reason the Flames didn’t finish in the bottom five of the NHL.
The problem is, no matter how well Kiprusoff played this season, the team still wasn’t able to score goals.
The Flames finished 24th in the league for goals-for this year with an average of only 2.43 goals a game.
Their goals-per-game average especially becomes a problem when you factor in that the Flames allowed an average of 2.65 goals each game.
Injuries happen to every team—it’s an unfortunate byproduct of any physical sport—but the Calgary Flames really felt the pain of injuries this year (literally).
An astounding 389 man-games were lost to injury by the Flames in 2011-12.
As a team that already lacks depth in its lineup, the Flames’ injuries definitely played a part in missing the playoffs.
The one positive to all of the injuries is that it allowed some of the Flames’ prospects to get playing time up with the big club.
2. Overtime and Shootout Losses
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The Calgary Flames finished in second-to-last place for shootout and overtime wins this season, losing 16 of 21 times.
That’s 16 games where they came away with only one point instead of a possible two.
That may not sound like much, but if the Flames had just gained that extra point in eight of those games, they would have finished in seventh place in the Western Conference.
1. Top Players Struggling Down the Stretch
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In early March, the Flames had an impressive stretch of five straight wins, and they were sitting in a good position to compete for a playoff spot.
The next nine games, leading up to the game when the Vancouver Canucks eliminated them, were anything but impressive. They won only one of those nine games, and their top forwards struggled down the stretch.
This was a very important set of games in the playoff race, but between leaders Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, Curtis Glencross and Alex Tanguay, there were only four goals.
The team collectively scored only 15 goals through those nine games, and that is far from enough when competing to play in the postseason.