Despite the win, the Calgary Flames aren’t happy with their game.
Nor should they be. They scored nine times against the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of their second-round series Battle of Alberta. But they looked like they needed every one of them.
Defensive breakdowns, an off night for the goaltender and a general lack of communication caused a lot of the chaos at the Saddledome on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said they had a lot of work to do.
Avoiding another big night for Connor McDavid, who had four points in the opener, is one of the major areas of focus.
“He played 25 minutes. Got a goal and three assists. He was a dominant player (Wednesday) night,” Sutter said, adding everyone on the team has to prepare to face the Art Ross winner.
“That is the mindset. He’s a great player; he’s the best player in the league. And he was the best player on the ice (Wednesday) night – not even close.
“At the end of the series, if Connor McDavid gets four points a game, have a good next series, Connor.”
Sutter not sarcastic with comments on Connor
Sutter can sometimes make comments about players a bit tongue-in-cheek. While head coach in Los Angeles, he sarcastically smeared Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson with compliments after the Kings’ third straight loss put them on the brink of elimination in the second round.
“He’s the best goalie I’ve ever seen,” Sutter said at the time. “I can’t believe we got one by him tonight.
“A lot of pressure on him now. A lot of pressure on him.”
The Kings won the next two games to advance. They went on to win their second Stanley Cup in three years.
But this — the McDavid comments — isn’t that.
McDavid is unquestionably the most talented NHLer currently playing. As he showed in helping the Oilers claw back from two four-goal deficits in Game 1, he can change the momentum in a game pretty quickly.
Sutter does have a plan to keep his impact to a minimum. But he’s not about to share.
“I don’t think that’s public to put on their board,” the Jack Adams finalist said Thursday.