Flames Fall Short Of Goals In 3-2 Loss In Winnipeg
The Calgary Flames couldn’t score enough, took bad penalties and had a letdown in the third period in a loss to the Jets in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
It's a tale as old as time. Or at least it seems that way for the Calgary Flames these days.
On the same day we're drawing attention to posts and crossbars as opportunities to turn the offence around, the team failed to capitalize on its chances yet again in a 3-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets in not-so-friendly Manitoba.
The Jets have been roaring and took the lead three times en route to their third straight victory. The Flames fought back twice but ran out of fuel offensively, unable to find that third goal just to keep their average output up. Looking for a gamebreaker, there were none to be found. For the Jets, that was Sam Gagner, who tipped home the winner with a little less than six minutes to play in regulation.
That remaining time was partially burned by a Tyler Toffoli penalty. Another familiar story with discipline compounding the scoring troubles. As good as the Calgary Flames have been shorthanded this year, that's not the key to finding desperation goals.
“We’ve played a lot of close games this year, and you need somebody who scores to step up and make a play,” Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter told reporters in Winnipeg post-game. “Reminds me a lot of the Edmonton game, actually.”
The Edmonton game, Kings game, Habs game … there have been plenty where one more goal could have made the difference but there is no sign of a saviour and the by-committee approach isn't working, either.
To be fair, the Jets are a great team and a tough opponent. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is stellar backstop. But the Flames need to keep piling points up and the regrets will have to be far and few between the rest of the way if they want to ensure themselves a playoff position.
"Like Darryl was saying, big players, big games. When it's a tight game, we cannot make mistakes in our zone and we need to capitalize in the other zone," said Flames defenceman Nikita Zadorov, who scored but also made a costly defensive miscue against the Jets. "We have enough chances today to score. Their goalie played well or we didn't executive.
"These tight games, it's nice; it's fun to play, fun for fans, but we have to bury some goals and win some hockey games at the end of the day."
For the trifecta of familiar – in the negative sense – Elias Lindholm commented on another trend the Flames need to eliminate. Too often during this up-and-down season, the team gives up a goal just a shift or two after scoring a big one themselves.
"Backs made a nice goal there, a big goal," Lindholm said of Mikael Backlund's third-period marker to tie things at two apiece after Jets defencemen Brenden Dillon and Josh Morrissey sandwiched Zadorov's score. "Obviously we let one in a couple shifts after, so probably would have liked to take a point, go to OT and see what happens.
"It's tough to lose like that."
Gagner's winner was tough but the Flames will have to focus on rebounding at home for a one-off pitstop against the New York Islanders at the Saddledome on Friday before touring the Central Division on a five-game road swing.