The playoffs may not be here yet, but the battle of attrition, usually associated with the post-season, has begun for the Calgary Flames.
After being shielded from injury bugs throughout the season, Flems dropped three regular starters on Saturday. Towards the end of the night they are at a fourth rate. And play.
Injuries are not the only thing happening in Calgary these days – they are hurting. It’s three in a row for a team that has won just four of their last ten. This is not the way a coach or any of his players want to get off the playoffs.
Tried Saturday, did not end.
It had a lot to do with the brilliance of the St. Louis Blues opening Villa Huso, who made 39 saves in a 6-4 Blues win.
Another deciding factor is that the Flemish Club’s deficit revolves around an evening of defensive zone coverage that is generally well known.
“Perhaps a good time for a road trip here,” said Milan Lusic, whose club released the three-game California Swing on Sunday, which ends next Saturday in Seattle. “It simply came to our notice then. We have to go to it like the first one in Detroit. “
Monday’s trend is against a growing LA club which could be a good idea given the Flames crawled within three points on Saturday.
“The big game, all the divisional games, especially Monday,” said Lucic, who has three games in the hands of the club’s Kings. “Now they are three points behind us. It’s a good time to move on and get back on track as a team and as a team. “
An off-day Tuesday in Anaheim, with temperatures expected to be 25 degrees, should work wonders for a bunch that didn’t play out with its identity or potential late.
There were several good signs on Saturday for a club that had reduced itself to 1-0 in the first minute. Again.
The fourth line, which learned early in the day that it would be without Sean Monahan due to season-ending hip surgery, equalized the score with a goal from Brett Ritchie who got the crowd back. Led by Lucic, they were great all night.
With Ryan Carpenter now in the center of the de facto fourth line, Noah Hanifin’s game-tying goal was instrumental in leaving the line 3-3 with nine minutes left.
In the play, Lucic brings it to the zone and Carpenter and Richie fight hard in front of the net before Hannifins inserts the backhand. Richie’s right knee was awkwardly pinned under Robert Bortujo in the play and left for the evening.
Joining Monahan and Richie on the shelf was the amazing scratch Calle Jarnkrok, elevating Trevor Lewis to the center of the third line.
Oliver is not playing without Killington, who the team had to deal with even after his head-on collision on board two nights ago, he was let go day after day and persuaded Connor McKee’s callup.
Michael Stone played with Chris Tanev for about 20 minutes and in the second pair admirably filled Killington’s shoes.
Flames’ backbreaker was just two minutes away, as Australian – yes, Australian – Nathan Walker single-handedly took a Nifty Robert Thomas pass in the high slot and beat Jacob Markstrom to give the spectators a 4-3 lead.
This was the third goal of the evening where Flame allowed a blues forward to find open space in the slot for easy conversions.
“It’s something we can’t let them do – it’s not our team’s identity,” Hanifin said. “We are not going to succeed in the long run. I am not trying to win 8-5 games.
With 37 seconds left, the Blues took a 5-3 lead on an empty net before Dillon Dubey’s goal became somewhat interesting. Another empty net sent the crowd of 16,422 unhappy, though the Blues outscored the Flames 43-25.
“It’s not how we want to finish before we go on a road trip, but if something happens we have to dig it out and it won’t be easy on the road,” said coaching coach Kirk Mueller.
“Everyone is playing for something. We need to feel comfortable playing in these games and keep our identity, which is playing away from Pak. Don’t be discouraged and think of the team, ‘That’s right and we want to play that way.’ We can’t crack – we have to crack the other team. “