Flames Fall 3-2 To Hurricanes, Finish Road Trip With Third Straight Loss
With a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Calgary Flames dropped three straight and four of six on six-game road trip.
Black Friday, Sad Saturday. Back-to-back regulation losses to close out a six-game trip has Calgary Flames fans feeling anything but festive.
After an overtime loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh, the Flames were 2-1-1. With five of a possible eight points, Flames players talked about the opportunity to take four more in Washington and Carolina.
They got none.
Too many mistakes, too many penalties and too few goals were the story again in a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the closer on Saturday afternoon.
Following a shutout loss to the Capitals in Washington on Friday, at least the Flames found the back of the net a couple of times against the Canes.
Trailing on Seth Jarvis’s opener, Adam Ruzicka knocked a powerplay goal past Antti Raanta to tie things up at one in the first period. He coasted to the perfect spot at the perfect time to pick up a Michael Stone rebound for his fifth of the season.
They fell behind again early in the second period on Martin Necas’s 10th of the year on a Hurricanes powerplay. But Jonathan Huberdeau sprung Tyler Toffoli in on a breakaway with a perfect long pass and Toffoli sniped one past Raanta to get head to intermission with a 2-2 tie.
Blake Coleman’s high-sticking infraction on Sebastian Aho led to the second Hurricanes powerplay goal.
And Brett Pesce’s first score of the season was all they needed to shut it down.
Dan Vladar was pretty good again in his second start in three games. Despite his .909 save percentage, stopping 30 shots, Vladar isn’t happy with another loss.
“It’s tough — 1-4, it’s not good enough from my view,” Vladar said of his 1-4-1 record. “I have to be better; I have to get some (wins) for this team; I have to help them out a little bit more.”
You can’t pin this one on the goaltender. And even though Jacob Markstrom’s save percentage was disappointing again on Friday, he can’t score the goals.
The Flames need someone to start driving some offence in key moments.
Huberdeau’s pass to Toffoli was clutch. But as far as an extra gear goes, the Flames can’t seem to clutch up to come out on top of all these one-goal games.
“In games like that, when both teams are really battling to win a hockey game, I think you really need that difference-maker, the guy who is going to make the play to score a goal,” Sutter said.
“You had three 40-goal scorers on your team last year. So it’s quite a different operation.”
The remaining 40-goal guy, Elias Lindholm, scored zero in the six-game trip that dropped the Flames to 9-9-3 on the season.
Toffoli’s goal in Carolina was his first on the trip. Andrew Mangiapane, who finished five shy of 40 last season, was shut out completely on the road.
Last year he dominated away from the Dome early in the season.
Veteran Mikael Backlund was skunked in these six games, and newcomers Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri each finished with one goal.
The result — a disappointing road trip.
"We wanted to get more points than games played," Sutter said. "That's the best way to look at it. When you go on trips that are three or more games, that's what you always want. Because you know there's lots involved. We got five in six games, so we fell short."
Toffoli summed up how most of the Calgary Flames probably feel.
“I just hate losing,” Toffoli said. “It just sucks. Being in the league so long, it’s not like time is running out but at the same time, you realize how good this team is. I think we’re just letting games slip through our fingers a little bit, and that’s just a little frustrating.”