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Flames’ Zadorov: ‘Worst Game Of (My) Career’

The Calgary Flames were embarrassed by the defending Stanley Cup champs in a 4-1 decision to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver, where former Avs defenceman Nikita Zadorov said he had the worst game of his career.



There has been a lot of mea culpa with the Calgary Flames this season. 

Recently, defenceman Chris Tanev fell on the sword after a loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Earlier this year, goaltender Jacob Markstrom proclaimed that he "sucks at hockey right now."

After another brutal loss on Saturday, the Calgary Flames had another member stand up and take the heat for what he called the worst game of his career. 

One player isn't to blame for a 4-1 loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, but Nikita Zadorov offered himself up as a sacrifice post-game. 

"I take responsibility. I think the loss is on me," said the former Avs defender. "I was on the ice for three goals against. Unacceptable. First goal, bad positioning. Second goal, I should have blocked it — it can't get to the net — and the third one, I just got walked. 

"Definitely the worst timing to have the worst game of your career."

Not sure when the timing would be better, but it definitely can't happen against a team with Nathan MacKinnon, who Zadorov said earlier in the day was "the best player in the world."

Markstrom didn't have his best night, either. It's starting to sound like a broken record, but he allowed both the first and second shots of the game to get past him. The first from MacKinnon a few minutes into the contest. The second by Alex Newhook. To be fair, Markstrom didn't have much of a chance stopping MacKinnon from a few feet away and not a defender in sight, and the Newhook shot from a distance went through a lot of bodies before hitting the back of the net. 

Still, these kinds of things are happening so often you start to wonder how it's even possible to get down so quickly so frequently. 

"Yeah, not good. Obviously, 2-0 right away and after that, it's uphill and we never climbed back," Markstrom told reports after the game. 

"It's easy to look at first shot and second shot and third shot and obviously that's frustrating. You want to get a shot from the outside, (but) there's no warmup shots in games. It's up to me to be ready and when there's a scoring opportunity, I need to come up with some saves to keep the guys in the game."

Mikko Rantanen made it 3-0 Avalanche early in the second period before Tyler Toffoli cut into the lead with his 25th of the year — on a Calgary Flames powerplay late in the second frame. 

But the Flames are still the only squad in the NHL not to mount a third-period comeback. Another stat that tells you all you need to know about what this group is lacking this season. And it's not just one thing. 

"I let Marky down. I've got to be better in those situations," Zadorov continued. "First goal, with MacKinnon on the ice, you've got to know who you're on the ice against. He's the best player in the world, so it's just bad positioning defensively. Second goal, powerplay, I threw a grenade (to a teammate) behind the net. He had no chance to clear it, and then that flank shot, I've got to block it, so it's on me as well. 

"They're good players, they're going to make plays; they're going to capitalize on those defensive mistakes." 

They sure did. 

"Our defence got beat one on one on a lot on goals against," said Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. "Including not getting pucks out and killing penalties."

A scrappy throwdown by Milan Lucic seemed to spark the Flames late in the second period, with Toffoli scoring shortly afterward. But it was a lone bright spot on a night the Flames missed open nets, hit posts and missed out on many opportunities they can't afford to any longer. 

Denis Malgin rounded out the rout with another Avs goal early in the third, zipping around Zadorov with ease. 

Game over. Same might be said for the Calgary Flames' season, soon. 

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