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CALGARY, AB -- It’s hard not to link the struggles the Calgary Flames faced offensively at the end of December to the success -- or lack there of -- on the power play.
While Calgary’s Homes By Avi Power Play was powerful to start the season, Calgary’s man-advantage advantage dwindled after Christmas, going 0-for-6 while the Flames manufactured just one goal, even strength or otherwise, over those three games.
Those struggles came after an emotional come-from-behind victory over the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 23. Trailing 3-2 late in the third period, Mark Giordano’s power play marker -- his third of the month -- with just five seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime before the Flames captured the two points in the shootout.
But Calgary couldn’t maintain that momentum after a three-day Christmas break, going 0-for-2 on Dec. 27 against the Edmonton Oilers, 0-for-1 against the Vancouver Canucks on Dec. 29 before closing out the month with an 0-for-2 performance against the Philadelphia Flyers on New Year’s Eve.
It wasn’t how the Flames welcomed in the month of December.
In Calgary’s first game of the month against the Phoenix Coyotes on Dec. 4, Giordano connected on the Flames’ second power play of December. Kris Russell followed up Giordano’s lead in Calgary’s very next game against Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 6 as part of a 2-for-3 run with the man advantage.
But after an 0-for-9 slump that followed, Mikael Backlund connected to alleviate some special teams frustration in New York against the Rangers on Dec. 15. Giordano, with his second of three power play tallies of the month, followed it up with another against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 19.
That tally set the stage for Giordano to round out his scoring against the Blues on Dec. 23. Jiri Hudler also connected earlier in the game to allow for Giordano’s heroics in the dying seconds of regulation, making St. Louis the victim of Calgary’s most productive power play game since Nov. 21 at the expense of the Los Angeles Kings.
The Flames, of course, followed it up by slumping through the remainder of December, pushing their power play percentage to just 14.3 percent in the month, improving it’s effectiveness ever so slightly to 13.5 percent on the season -- 27th overall in the National Hockey League.


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