The new Flames structure fails to generate the necessary urgency

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The new Flames structure fails to generate the necessary urgency


The coach called some of his players doped and blamed several bad penalties for the loss.

The point is, the details of the last in a four-game losing streak for the Calgary Flames are irrelevant, as it’s just a slightly different version of the same old story from the end.

How they lost is secondary to how this group can possibly keep the faith – not only that they can perform a miracle to get back into the playoff race, but that they can somehow. on the other hand, find ways to score goals again under their new structure.

A 3-2 loss to a formidable Winnipeg team on Friday puts the Flames’ total goals at four in their last four outings, leaving them four points behind fourth-placed Montreal, which has four games in hand.

In a clip like this, Jacques Plante could not save this group.

Both of the Flames’ goals came from redirects two feet from the goal line on a night when the Flames had just five chances to score a high danger.

The Jets had nine.

Don’t mind the score – this one wasn’t close.

Perhaps the game – and the Flames’ situation these days – was best summed up with a solid eight-minute opener in which the Flames only managed to muster one shot on goal.

Their anemic attack, which is now based on winning puck battles after shocks, hasn’t generated any semblance of sustained pressure lately.

“You have to play with the pace,” Sutter said when asked how his players can maintain their confidence in a system they haven’t had success with lately. “The system, all it is, is faster than the one they were playing, and it’s hard to understand. It has nothing to do with anything else. The scoring chances were on failure before and very little on the run, indicating that the puck isn’t moving fast enough or that some of our players aren’t.

Still, there was the Flames, who fought after a 2-0 intermission deficit, to make it interesting after Milan Lucic had a pinball machine on him and Josh Morrissey in the crease 13 minutes to go. .

With eight minutes left, Lucic was whistled to board Mason Appleton, catching the attention of Neal Pionk, who was quickly parried by a right hand from Lucic.

As Lucic served four minutes into the box, Jacob Markstrom complicated the return effort by shooting the puck into the stands for a penalty play delay that gave one of the NHL’s best power plays a goal. easy five-on-three from Paul Stastny.

That goal was the winner of the game, as a goal from Matthew Tkachuk with the keeper out and two minutes to go created a facade, this one was a biting.

Not the least.

“The five on three is clearly the difference in the game,” said Sutter, who could be seen behind the bench vehemently disagreeing with the extra roughness appeal that Lucic received.

“Obviously tonight the difference is we took a stupid penalty (by Dillon Dube) and they scored on it right away (10 minutes into the game) and then we took a shot out of play for a five against three.

“We had some real dumb players in the first half – it cost us the game. We’ve had dumb players who only woke up when we scored a goal, which is unfortunate. The urgency is there when we’re down from a goal, but you have to have the strength and mental toughness to play through it. You don’t always have the head. ”

To illustrate his point, the Flames had just 13 shots on goal after two periods before recovering for the third period with a level of desperation missing in the top 40.

Sutter has certainly addressed the team’s glaring work ethic issues since joining, but the tradeoff is that increased demand for detail seems to affect the creativity and finish of a team that rarely seems more dangerous offensively.

The Flames, who are now 4-5 under Sutter, host Winnipeg again on Saturday and Monday.

“Lose another one-goal game,” said thoughtful Lucic, whose post-game body language naturally suggested this team is running out of answers and, possibly, hope.

“It sucks because we are running out of time and we are running out of games. We have to start entering the win column if we are to have a chance. ”

To do this, they will first have to figure out how to bring it to the net.

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