The Calgary Flames’ offense has been firing on all cylinders in the month of February with Monday’s matinee being the latest installment.
On Family Day, Calgary trailed early in the third period 3-1 before mounting a comeback and scoring five unanswered goals — two of which capped off a first-ever hat trick by Andrew Mangiapane — to defeat the visiting Anaheim Ducks 6-4.
It marked the fifth time in the team’s last six games they’ve scored at least three goals in a game and sixth time in the nine they laced them up for this month.
With the recent scoring outburst, including two six-goal outbursts in the last week, does Calgary really need to still acquire a top-six forward? The answer is yes.
The Flames entered the month of February ranked 26th in the NHL averaging 2.63 goals a game. After its latest win, they moved up to 22nd (2.85), so it would appear the offense is picking up steam. However, the number is slightly inflated as they notched six goals twice against the lowly Ducks and once against the injury-plagued Sharks.
With his hat trick, Mangiapane now has 13 goals on the season, which is the third-highest scoring winger on the Flames behind Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau who have 20 and 14 goals, respectively. Yes, the team’s top goalscorer, centerman Elias Lindholm, has 27 goals and having a spread-out offense that includes 18 markers by Sean Monahan is great. But considering that some of the NHL’s top goal scorers are more than double the majority of these numbers — on teams that stand in their way of the ultimate prize — it never hurts to have another weapon in the arsenal.
Matthew Tkachuk became the fourth player in @NHLFlames history to register three 20-goal seasons prior to his 23rd birthday (age by end of season).
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 17, 2020
Add all that into the fact that the schedule is about to get a whole lot tougher for the Flames as they head down the home stretch. According to NHL.com , before Monday’s win, Calgary had the 10th-hardest remaining schedule in the league.
The Flames are in a tight race in the Western Conference. As of Monday night, they now sit two points back of the Pacific Division-leading Edmonton Oilers, with the Vancouver Canucks — who just added their own offensive threat — and Vegas Golden Knights between them. Looking behind them, Calgary has Arizona nipping at their heels and a three-point lead over the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets for the two wild-card spots.
So, with all these factors in place, and despite Mangiapane’s hat trick, general manager Brad Treliving will likely explore the trade market to acquire a top-six forward ahead of next week’s deadline. There’s plenty to pick from: forwards reportedly on the trade block include Chris Kreider, Ilya Kovalchuk and Kyle Palmieri.