Flames need to ‘clean up’ after falling to Blues in third straight loss


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On paper, that will come down to three straight losses for the Calgary Flames in the final game of a six-game homestand.

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A hard-fought 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. A 3-2 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings saw them lose a 2-1 lead.

Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the visiting St. Louis Blues.

And while there’s no reason to get completely upset about this so-called slump — the Flames are still 40-19-9 and three points ahead of the Kings in the Pacific Division — it is the slippage of detail that should be of concern.

Especially now that they’re heading down the road for a four-game road trip against divisional opponents.

And especially if they expect a long playoff streak.

“Cover lost several times. Gave up chances in the slot. That was basically it,” Flames forward Milan Lucic said. “It’s a cover we’ve been very good at all year.

“We just have to clean it up. It’s a matter of sticking to it. If you’re frustrated and trying to do too much and do someone else’s job, that’s when you drift away from your game plan and your identity. It’s probably a good time for a road trip here.

The Flames depart Sunday for games in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose and Seattle and prepare to face four opponents below them in the Pacific.

Lucic is right – it’s a good time to step away and get back to business.

Because more performances like Saturday’s matchup against the playoff-tested St. Louis Blues won’t be enough.

It was a less than perfect performance from goaltender Jacob Markstrom – who allowed four goals on 23 shots. But they still couldn’t overcome their mistakes, even though they dominated the visitors for most of the game.

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The Flames outshot the Blues 16-6 in the first period and 12-4 in the second. In the end, they had 43 attempts at net compared to St. Louis’ 25 (including two goals into an empty net).

“I think we did a lot of good things,” Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin said. “Looch talked about it, but the few chances they had, they capitalized on it. And that’s something we need to clean up. In the second period they had something like 10 shots but we were giving them a good chance.

“That’s something we can’t allow, especially with our team identity.”

To their credit, the Flames managed to come back after trailing 3-2 midway through the second period.

Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund and St. Louis Blues center Robert Thomas face off at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Saturday, April 2, 2022.
Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund and St. Louis Blues center Robert Thomas face off at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Saturday, April 2, 2022. Photo by Sergei Belsky /USA TODAY Sports

That Blues lead lasted until 10:43 of the third period when Hanifin filed a crushing effort from the team’s fourth line, a play that saw Brett Ritchie’s leg get caught under Robert Bortuzzo, causing him to awkwardly twisted the knee.

Markstrom also redeemed himself by making an important save on Vladimir Tarasenko late in the game, which helped the Flames continue to stick with their bodychecking efforts.

Then a breakdown in their own area led to Nathan Walker’s goal with 1:56 remaining. Ivan Barbashev added an empty net a minute later.

A late comeback attempt, a Dillon Dube goal with 37.8 seconds left, couldn’t do the job.

With 4.7 ticks remaining, an easy tap-in from Brandon Saad sealed the deal.

“It’s that time of year, isn’t it?” You’re not going to see any fancy goals, you’re going to have to win it all,” said Flames associate coach Kirk Muller, who was handling the media while head coach Darryl Sutter was on the show. CBC. after hours. “We recognize that to score goals you’ll have to win it and get into those dirty areas and simplify your game.”

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The tone was set just 54 seconds into Saturday’s clash when a Justin Faulk point shot was deflected past Markstrom by Robert Thomas. A tough game to clear, but the Flames got their own chance when Blues goalie Ville Husso mishandled a rebound and let it slip between his legs. Ritchie was credited for it and the Flames tied the score 1-1.

At 12 min 49 s into the first period, Johnny Gaudreau moved up to the front row to give the hosts a 2-1 advantage.

But Ryan O’Reilly scored from the stick side, just before Chris Tanev emerged from the penalty area, to level the score on sloppy man-to-man coverage by Andrew Mangiapane, and the game didn’t go all the way. a shot didn’t seem so unbalanced. .

At the end of the first period, the Flames outshot the Blues 16-6. At the end of the second, they were ahead of them 28-10.

And somehow the Blues – who had stormed back after losing 4-1 and losing 6-5 in a shootout to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday – managed to come out on top. at the end of two periods, going up 3-2 on another clever play from Faulk.

“The volume of shots is huge, but you have to get it and get second and third chances and that’s how our team will have to score,” added Muller. “That’s not going to change.

“Every game from here to the end (of the regular season) is going to be tight and tough.”

Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk controls the puck against the St. Louis Blues at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Saturday April 2, 2022.
Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk controls the puck against the St. Louis Blues at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Saturday April 2, 2022. Photo by Sergei Belsky /USA TODAY Sports


Lost in the news of Saturday’s massive injury update from Flames general manager Brad Treliving regarding center Sean Monahan’s hip surgery, there was also news on Oliver Kylington.

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The 24-year-old defender is day to day after falling to the boards in Thursday’s game against the visiting LA Kings, an injury serious enough to warrant a call-up from the Stockton Heat.

Connor Mackey was called up Friday ahead of Saturday’s clash, before the team departed for a week-long trip through California and Seattle.

Mackey, along with Kylington, were eliminated against the Blues with center Calle Jarnkrok.

Kylington has recorded 64 games this season in a second pairing with Chris Tanev and has eight goals and 19 assists and is plus-26 on the season.
In his place, stalwart defenseman Mike Stone was paired with Tanev against St. Louis.


Johnny Gaudreau was named the NHL’s second star of the month for March on Friday after finishing second in the league with 26 points — 11 goals and 15 assists — in 15 games.

The month was marked by seven multi-point performances, as well as his first career five-assist night on March 26 in a 9-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

Heading into Saturday’s game, the 28-year-old finished fourth in NHL scoring with 31 goals and 60 assists in 67 appearances.

Interestingly, Gaudreau has played 279 consecutive games, the sixth most active in the NHL.


Heading into Saturday, the Flames were 10-4-2 against Central Division opponents this season…Flames D Nikita Zadorov was one point away from 100 career points… Heading into Saturday, LW Matthew Tkachuk had four goals and 13 assists for 17 points in 13 career games against the Blues.

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