The result is that Calgary is not stuck in its own end muc

The result is that Calgary is not stuck in its own end much.

In the offensive zone, they love to use the high ice effectively. When the puck comes from low to high, a forward moves toward the blue line every time to be an option for a play. That’s hard to cover for some teams.

The Flames are getting effective play from each of their four lines. Balance is important, skill players like Sean Monahan have found a home among the bottom-six forwards.

Another major improvement has been a consistent net-front presence, which has helped Calgary average 3. 23 goals per game, up from the 2. 77 goals per game last season.

Coach Darryl Sutter has said one of the Flames’ biggest issues is finishing chances. They’re around the net a lot, screening and getting to rebounds, which should lead to more goals. It wasn’t happening last season. It may not be as pretty, but blue-collar goals count the same as skill goals.

The result is that Calgary is not stuck in its own end much.

In the offensive zone, they love to use the high ice effectively. When the puck comes from low to high, a forward moves toward the blue line every time to be an option for a play. That’s hard to cover for some teams.

The Flames are getting effective play from each of their four lines. Balance is important, skill players like Sean Monahan have found a home among the bottom-six forwards.

Another major improvement has been a consistent net-front presence, which has helped Calgary average 3. 23 goals per game, up from the 2. 77 goals per game last season.

Coach Darryl Sutter has said one of the Flames’ biggest issues is finishing chances. They’re around the net a lot, screening and getting to rebounds, which should lead to more goals. It wasn’t happening last season. It may not be as pretty, but blue-collar goals count the same as skill goals.

The Flames aren’t over-taxing their personnel because their bottom-six forwards have earned time on the power play and penalty kill. Forwards Milan Lucic, Tyler Pitlick, Brad Richardson, Trevor Lewis, Monahan, and third-pair defenseman Erik Gudbranson are each part of the special teams rotation. Balanced ice time allows the Flames to play with pace night after night.

It also can’t be overlooked that goalie Jacob Markstrom has been lights out (9-4-4, 1. 75 goals-against average,. 938 save percentage). Structured play helps Markstrom, but he has made the big saves when needed.

The labors to understand and implement what Sutter wants are starting to bear fruit. When you play the Flames, they give you very little. If you are going to beat them, you’re going to have to earn it. Because of Calgary’s consistency this season, that hasn’t happened often.

The Flames aren’t over-taxing their personnel because their bottom-six forwards have earned time on the power play and penalty kill. Forwards Milan Lucic, Tyler Pitlick, Brad Richardson, Trevor Lewis, Monahan, and third-pair defenseman Erik Gudbranson are each part of the special teams rotation. Balanced ice time allows the Flames to play with pace night after night.

It also can’t be overlooked that goalie Jacob Markstrom has been lights out (9-4-4, 1. 75 goals-against average,. 938 save percentage). Structured play helps Markstrom, but he has made the big saves when needed.

The labors to understand and implement what Sutter wants are starting to bear fruit. When you play the Flames, they give you very little. If you are going to beat them, you’re going to have to earn it. Because of Calgary’s consistency this season, that hasn’t happened often.