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Calgary Flames

Takeaways Following a Controversy-Filled Flames Loss to the Maple Leafs



Chris Tanev

One of rookie Head Coach Ryan Huska’s key mantras this season has been encouraging a strong start to every game as well as a strong finish.

The idea is that if the team can set the pace, they’ll keep the other team on their heels, and a high tempo will come to the group naturally following that system. Approaching the end of the game, another kick, a kick that the players have been anticipating; should be a formula for staying on top of the opposition.

The Flames may have taken that concept a bit too far on Thursday night when, after building a two-goal lead off the sticks of Yegor Sharangovich and Nazem Kadri, the team leaned back and started allowing the Toronto Maple Leafs to dictate play.

Four unanswered goals, including an Auston Matthews hat trick, later and Calgary found themselves struggling to find their way back into the driver’s seat. With a harsh mix of poor puck luck and Toronto’s Dallas Cowboys-esque penchant for ending up on the positive end of play reviews, the Calgary Flames ended the night no higher in the standings after losing the effort 4-3.




The Pospisil loss is huge

A cursory glance at Martin Posipsil’s stats doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to the scrappy Slovakian’s value on the roster. Four goals and seven assists in 33 games is solid for a rookie, but likely leaves him out of the conversation for the Calder Trophy.

The 24-year-old’s value comes in the intangibles. The 6-foot-2 speedster ramps up the pace for both teams nightly by throwing hits and landing sneaky blows to opposing defencemen on the forecheck. His speed in transition keeps the puck moving in the right direction for Calgary, and his offensive production is a nice bonus when it arrives.

Taking a spill last night late in the first period after colliding skates with Leafs star Auston Matthews spells trouble for the Flames sparkplug. The fiesty left winger is expected to miss a couple weeks. Ryan Huska shed light on Pospisil’s injury. “It didn’t look good, but from what I understand he’s doing okay. I haven’t gotten an official update yet, but hopefully, it’s not something that will keep him out a long time.”

Calgary has a record of 19-12-4 since Pospisil joined the lineup on Nov. 4.

The bottom pairing might not be a fit

Jordan Oesterle and Nick DeSimone fell victim to two Auston Matthews goals (#1 and #3) despite each defenceman logging under ten minutes of play over sixty minutes. Goal number one involved the Leafs center splitting the defenceman and skating the puck right past them into the slot.

Goal three for the Toronto center involved DeSimone failing to contain Matthews out front.

Does Ryan Huska roll the same defensive group against Edmonton’s star-fueled offence?

Don’t Blame Daniel Vladar

All four Toronto goals came from either high danger areas or from high danger passes through the slot.

Leafs-Flames goals/shots Jan. 18.

You’ll be hard-pressed to put blame on the Flames backup as Calgary’s goaltending platoon quietly postures for their place on the depth chart.

The Flames are back in action on Saturday for round two of the Battle of Alberta.