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Calgary Flames

Flames Show Fight In Overtime Loss To Rangers After Break

Spirited loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden could prove to be a pivotal point of inconsistent season for the Calgary Flames.



Twice, the Calgary Flames fell behind. Twice, they caught up. But they couldn’t overcome the third setback after losing their first and only lead of the game. 

That final blow came in overtime as the Flames lost their first game back from a 10-day break with a 5-4 setback against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. 

They were attacked physically, faced multiple mental challenges, but showed a lot of fight in the back-and-forth battle. Literal and metaphorical. 

It wasn’t a very good game for either team, but it was exciting for everyone watching.

Tempers flared thanks to a couple of massive bodychecks by Rangers blueliner Jacob Trouba, who rocked both Dillon Dube and later Nazem Kadri with open-ice hits that led to responses from Chris Tanev — making his return to the ice after missing a pair with an upper-body injury before the break — and then Dube. 

There was nothing dirty about either hit, but the way the Flames rallied could be a pivotal coming together for a group still struggling to define its identity

"I don't think we've had a game like that this year. That just shows to everybody and, most importantly, to us in the dressing room that we're not going to back down from anybody,” defenceman MacKenzie Weegar told reporters post-game. 

“I thought we showed a lot of good character out there. We showed that we love each other, we care for each other, and a lot of guys stepped up.”

Filip Chytil scored his 17th and 18th of the season early in the first and second periods, but Blake Coleman and Tyler Toffoli stepped up in response for the Flames. 

Mika Zibanejad’s powerplay goal with Dube in the penalty box for an instigator penalty following his scrap with Trouba could have crushed their spirits. But it only seemed to ingite them. 

The Calgary Flames scored twice in the third period to give them their first lead. Andrew Mangiapane and Michael Stone scored a little more than two minutes apart before the halfway mark of the final frame, only to watch Zibanejad become the second Rangers player to pot two goals on the night with 7:05 left in regulation. 

Artemi Panarin made a great play and Weegar stumbled as the pass from behind the goal-line found Zibanejad streaking in untouched. 

But it didn’t break the Flames. 

"Exciting game. Fun game. Thought we were valiant to come back,” said Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. “I thought we played very well.”

It was certainly a good sign after a 10-day break that saw the Flames players disperse to warmer climates for a break during the bye week and all-star event. Their first practice was Monday’s morning skate. 

They were as emotionally invested as you could have hoped. 

“I feel like it means that we're all in. We're all together here,” Weegar said. “We’re still going to keep pushing here. It's a big point to start a road trip, coming off a long break, coming into a tough building. We're going to keep grinding away here and it means a lot that we care for each other and are going to step in.”

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