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Calgary Flames

Flames Fans Frustrated By 4-1 Loss to Preds



The boos started as the Calgary Flames skated off the ice at the end of the first period.

Just a smattering.

Not many would be happy with what they witnessed. The Flames managed just three shots through the opening 20 minutes. They almost escaped with a tie. But in the last minute, former Flames first-rounder Mark Janikowski — freshly called up from the minors — broke in and roofed a rebound on the Nashville Predators’ 13th shot of the period.

The boos got a little louder in the second.

Surely the Flames talked in the locker room about a better start to the midde frame. But before a third of the Saddledome fans got back to their seats from the beer lines, Filip Forsberg had the Preds up by two. Two and a half minutes later, Roman Josi’s blast from the point with Flames winger Dillon Dube in the sin bin made it a three-goal gap.

Despite an inspired third period, it was too big a gap to recover from and the Calgary Flames fell 4-1 on the night.

It was their third straight loss at home, dropping them to 5-4-0 on the season.

They’ve got one more in the (formerly) friendly confines on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils before a three-game roadie next week.

To be fair, not all the boo souds were actually boos. The loyal Milan Lucic fan club belted out “Loooooch” every time he touched the puck — which seemed to happen a lot on the night.

And no disrespect to the big man, but if he’s the guy standing out offensively, your possession game might need a bit of a tuneup. (Then again, he did ring one off the crossbar on a one-timer late in the second period and his energy certainly helped keep hope alive).

Some of the jeers were for the men in stripes with the Calgary Flames taking three minors before the Preds’ first. There was also a blatant trip on Jonathan Huberdeau that had Nazem Kadri voicing his displeasure to the refs.

But the bottom line is the Flames played poorly for 40 minutes. Worse than I’ve seen them play in a while. The absence of an injured Chris Tanev definitely messed with the defence, but the rugged rearguard wasn’t the reason for the lack of offence.

The Flames took too many bad penalties. Lost too many battles on the boards. Fired too many errant pucks or passed up prime opportunities to shoot when they were presented.

The third period was mildly different. The Flames got an early goal from Blake Coleman and showed more fight in general. But another infraction — an overly exuberant mugging at the hands of Nikita Zadorov — snuffed out the spark. An empty netter added insult to injury.

With the weather turning violently icy in Calgary, the fans who made the trek had every reason to be miffed.

But imagine how the players feel.

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