The flames hit the road hoping to bring an ‘ugly end’ to the family behind them


“Now we have to reset and be much better on the road”

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The marathon homestand is behind them.

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Fortunately, perhaps, for the Calgary Flames.

The eight-game series at the Scotiabank Saddledome started well but fell apart in the end, with the club winning three of the first four games before losing the last four games.

Ugly stuff.

“Yeah… It’s an ugly ending for the homestand,” Flames winger Blake Coleman admitted. “It’s been a long family. We had the opportunity to settle down.

“Now we have to reset and be much better on the road.”

Yes… the road invites itself.

Finally, after just one game away from the Dome in their first 10 regular season games, the Flames – now 5-4-1 – hit the road for a near-extended journey.

They face the improved New York Islanders (7-5) on Monday (5 p.m., Sportsnet One/Sportsnet 960 The Fan), a rematch with the Metropolitan Division Devils (9-3) on Tuesday (5 p.m., Sportsnet West/Sportsnet 960 The Fan) and test the top Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division (10-2) Thursday (5 p.m., Sportsnet 360/Sportsnet 960 The Fan), in hopes of turning things around.

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“We can’t be sorry for what’s happening right now,” Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov said. “Losing four in a row is unacceptable for our group. We’re going on the road – we haven’t been in a while. We’ve been home for a while. So it’s going to be something new for us.

“New energy. New excitement.

It’s safe to say they can build on the energy and positives of Saturday night’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Devils at the Dome.

After scoring 89 seconds from Nazem Kadri – thanks to his own forecheck and a second effort from teammate Trevor Lewis – the Devils lit up the Flames for three goals in the first period.

But the hosts found tenacity along the way as they secured a second-half goal from Elias Lindholm, moments after failing to collect a two-man breakaway, and a redirecting goal in the final frame from Zadorov to force OT and , at least, take a point.

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“It’s a loser’s point,” said Coleman, whose perfect drive to the front of the net on a run made Zadorov’s equalizer possible. “You are not playing to lose this game. You play this way to win. I find it leaves a bitter taste. It’s time to hit the road and put that behind us, but that’s not going to change on its own.

Indeed, they will need to create their own breaks to break the skid, which continued Saturday night when Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom – solid throughout the night – couldn’t stop Fabian Zetterlund’s quick shot from the good point for power. -play winner in extra session.

Because they face new challenges in addition to some hot teams ahead of them.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom reacts after giving the New Jersey Devils Fabian Zetterlund the overtime goal during an NHL hockey game at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Saturday November 5, 2022.
Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom reacts after giving the New Jersey Devils Fabian Zetterlund the overtime goal during an NHL hockey game at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Saturday November 5, 2022. Al Charest/Postmedia

One concern is the sudden shorthanded experience on the blue line, after Chris Tanev (upper body) missed a second game in a row and fellow defender Michael Stone left Saturday’s game early with an apparent injury to leg. That meant career-high minutes for a few young Flames at the back against the Devils, including 29:43 for Rasmus Andersson and 28:24 for Zadorov. MacKenzie Weegar clocked 28:41, Noah Hanifin skated 24:42 and Connor Mackey – who had a tough night – skated 10:40.

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On Sunday, the club placed Stone on injured reserve and raised defensemen Nick DeSimone and Dennis Gilbert of the Calgary Wranglers of the American Hockey League.

Another issue is the lack of top-end production and the play of a few veterans, said Sutter, who benched Mikael Backlund on Saturday night.

“For some reason, we just have to get to that level of confidence and make plays and make guys start to feel good about themselves and about our team,” Coleman said. “The only way out is hard work.”

His teammates agreed.

“You never want to be too high or too low,” Andersson said. “I think it’s a fine line, honestly. We are obviously disappointed with how the last games have gone, and maybe even before that. But that comes down to everyone – I have to play better, we have to play better… so you have to look at yourself in the mirror.

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“Obviously we haven’t played our best hockey here,” Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane said. “You have to keep pushing forward and being a good team – and that’s all we can really focus on.”

They’ll have to do it away from home now.

“A good effort is important,” said Sutter, who praised his side for the fightback on Saturday in the final game of the 3-4-1 home game. “I think we talk too much about the time you spent at home and all that. I just think you’re trying to win hockey games more than talking about homestand.

Agree Zadorov, “It’s disappointing to lose games no matter where you are. So it doesn’t matter. In front of the home crowd, it’s definitely a bit bigger. But I think for me personally, I hate to lose – no matter where we play.

“But I think everything will be fine,” added Zadorov. “The guys in this room are professionals. We have a very good team. We believe in each other, so I think we’re going to turn things around. We’re still at 0.500 – that’s definitely not where we want to be. But we have a lot to do, and I think we can definitely do it.

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