When Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane spoke about another overtime loss on Tuesday, his eyes darted around the room a couple of times.
He may have been wary of sounding like he was being critical of a teammate.
But there was plenty of room for criticism after another missed opportunity.
Jonathan Huberdeau couldn’t be blamed for the loss. The 4-3 OT outcome in St Louis should never have gotten past regulation in the first place.
The team’s marquee winger, however, seems to be damned regardless of what he does when it comes to overtime with the Flames.
Off the top of my head, there was the time Huberdeau took a high-sticking penalty on the opening OT faceoff.
He was also chastised for a couple of fancy passes from prime shooting position that cost them another chance for a second point in Los Angeles.
So when he lost the puck charging the net against the Blues on Tuesday, it seemed like there was just no winning for him in extra time, no matter what he did.
There’s not much winning, period, when it comes to Calgary Flames overtime.
One win in seven games that went past regulation in the last month of the schedule alone. The team is clinging to the single points they’ve been getting in these losses.
Yes, they have at least a point in 15 of their last 19 games.
Sure, the single is better than zero.
But it’s not going to sustain them in the playoff race.
The team — Huberdeau included — needs to find a way to be more effective at three-on-three hockey. More opportunistic. More responsible. One odd-man rush or open path to the net going the other way and it’s over in a blink.
Max Domi did it to them in Chicago on Sunday. Robert Thomas did it to them in St. Louis on Tuesday.
“I think in overtime, puck possession and making smart plays with it, and no odd-man rushes is what every team is looking for. And that’s what we’re looking for, too,” said Mangiapane as he scoured the room.
“It starts with us defensively and not giving them those fast break type of plays.”
Their points possession is buoyed slightly by the nine games in which they’ve salvaged the single point, but their winning percentage isn’t great when you add those to the loss column. The Calgary Flames have won just 19 times. They’ve lost 23.
“Yeah, it’s challenging for us, it seems, but I think (the overtime stat) can be a little deceiving as well,” said Nazem Kadri, who had trouble with the Thomas line all night, according to Flames head coach Darryl Sutter.
“We’ve allowed a few powerplay goals in overtime and that certainly doesn’t help the stats.”
No, but they put themselves in that position — multiple times — in the first place.
And on Tuesday, with a two-goal lead in the third period, they shouldn’t have been in overtime at all.
“For us it’s trying to close the games before overtime,” said Kadri. “It’s anyone’s game three-on-three, and we’ve got to do a better job before that.”
And if you get there, you have to find the fine line or risk versus reward.
“Sometimes it’s a little easier said than done but, for sure, you need to take some sort of risk in order to win the hockey game,” Kadri said of the Huberdeau play. “You can’t try not to lose the game; you’ve got to try to win the game.
“Of course, we’ve got to manage the puck a little better in overtime, that’s definitely a golden rule for sure.”