Kane takes a bite out of the Flames and their hopes to make the playoffs.
Evander Kane scored 4 goals, a career high, to power the San Jose Sharks over the Calgary Flames 7 to 4.
Kane’s first goal at the 6 minute mark of the opening period came off a shot partially deflected by Dougie Hamilton’s stick which fooled goalie Mike Smith. It was a sign of things to come. Mike Smith did not have a good game. Smith described his play in one word “Terrible”. He allowed 6 goals on just 20 shots and was replaced early in the third period. Smith said “It was one of those nights where pucks were hitting things, going in. A couple of bad breaks there. It was definitely an off-night and a tough one to swallow, obviously, right now.” On the other hand, his counterpart Martin Jones made two incredible – one could say lucky – stick saves to change the fate of the game.
The Flames shut down line (Bennett – Backlund – Frolik) was a combined -9 in the game. Very mediocre when competing against a divisional rival and chasing a playoff spot! On a bright note, Mark Jankowski scored his 13th goal of the season on an incredible shot in the 2nd period. The game saw the return of Kris Versteeg to the Flames’ lineup. He played on the third line with Mark Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway. Versteeg played 11.01 minutes but really wasn’t a factor after missing 48 games this season. The Flames are truly missing the grit and consistency of Matthew Tkachuk, who is still on the IR.
Going into the game it really was a must win at home for the Flames. The team was projected to need 8 wins from their remaining 11 games to make the playoffs. Not impossible but highly unlikely. Coach Gulutzan had this to say about the remaining 10 games and a playoff picture that is becoming more unachievable for the Flames. “We have 100 points left on the table. So, until we run out of points, we’re going to play the next game.” Will the Flames make the playoffs this year? It’s projected that they will need 96 points, requiring them to win 80% of their remaining contests. Do you believe in a miracle? Sorry but this writer can’t see it happening but hope I’m wrong. Really the Flames have been too inconsistent this season especially with a home record of 15 – 17 – 13 to advance and warrant a playoff berth.