It took the coach even less time to show how it was possible.
“Our defense had a very difficult night,” said Darryl Sutter after Tuesday’s 5-3 loss in San Jose to the Sharks.
“The six defenders played like an exhibition game.
Hoping to wrap up a four-game roadie in the West with their third win, the Flames started the night by doing a lot of things this team has built on their first-place season.
They opened the scoring in 97 seconds and shot and passed their opponents en route to a 3-1 lead four minutes into the second.
And then it turned.
At a time when it looked like the Flames would come off with a stifling finish, they wasted a power play and allowed three quick goals for a Sharks team that would have had no reason to be in the game without Adin. Hill and its 40 stops.
It was a game the Flames should have finished, and they knew it.
Erik Karlsson started off by jumping out of the penalty area and on a breakaway he converted five holes.
A redirect from Logan Couture, followed by the second of three from Tomas Hertl put the stunned Flames on their heels in a game that suddenly got out of hand.
“They weren’t great goals to be completely honest,” said Sutter, whose club was shut out on all three power plays while the hosts scored on both.
“First of all, the penalty wasn’t necessary and they scored an easy goal. The other was a line change from a defender.
“These are defenders’ mistakes, and our goalie has to be better than theirs. “
The coach had rare criticism for Dan Vladar, who lost for the first time in regulation this year, falling to 5-1-1.
“Our goalie had some circulation issues and some rebounding issues,” he said.
” Disappointing. Missing nets, missing assignments, puck reversals. We have to be better than that.
The team flew home afterwards, wondering what could have been.
What should have been.
“We’re leading 3-1 on the road and we let them come back – a tough loss,” said Mikael Backlund, whose club ended the trip 2-2.
“I don’t think we played our best hockey, but we came out .500 – probably what we deserved. Bitter feeling of getting on the plane now.
Johnny Gaudreau’s 10th of the season gave the Flames a 2-1 lead halfway through the first with a goal that showcased the brilliance of the three members of the league’s most prolific line.
An excellent forward failure from Elias Lindholm allowed Matthew Tkachuk to grab the loose puck and send a blind pass through his legs for Gaudreau to finish with a fake owl up front.
The assist gave Tkachuk 300 career points in just his 375th game.
– Flames de Calgary (@NHLFlames) December 8, 2021
The 23-year-old is the second player in the 2016 draft to reach such a mark, behind his pal, Auston Matthews.
Gaudreau’s goal made the Flames the first NHL team this season to have four double-digit goalscorers, while Andrew Mangiapane has 17, Tkachuk and Lindholm have 11 and Gaudreau has 10.
Four minutes into the second period, another Flame reached a milestone when 22-year-old Adam Ruzicka gave the Flames a 3-1 lead with his first NHL goal.
It was his second game of the season and his fifth NHL appearance of his career.
“I feel great for myself and my family watching at home, but quite upset that we lost this one,” Ruzicka said.
“We dominated the whole game. We were the best team.
At first glance, it may seem that Backlund went wrong in trying to kill a first-half penalty that ultimately saw Hertl score to tie the game 1-1.
But did he do it?
Backlund had his stick broken blocking a Brent Burns shot. As the puck moved across the ice, Backlund decided to try and run to the nearby bench to grab a stick.
His absence opened a way for Hertl to cover his night, making Backlund look like he had made an error in judgment.
The reality is that many in the hockey world believe it makes more sense to give up the game for a short time to try and grab a nearby stick than to be a lame defenseman who desperately runs away without one.
In this case, Backlund appeared to be in a no-win situation, which resulted in the league’s third penalty allowing the Sharks’ first of two power-play goals that night.
Two games after managing to shuffle his lines in an effort to add a secondary score, Sutter’s most recent third line struck again.
In Anaheim, his decision to reunite Sean Monahan, Blake Coleman and Trevor Lewis allowed them to combine five shots and 11 shots on goal in the victory.
On Tuesday, the final third line scored a minute and a half when Dillon Dube, Milan Lucic and Monahan opened the scoring.
After causing a turnaround in the neutral zone, Lucic carried the puck into the San Jose zone and sent a center pass from Dube redirected to the net, where it bounced off defenseman Mario Ferraro.
By the end of the night, Monahan had played more minutes than any other Flames forward (19:44), had four shots and was 11th of 16 in the face-off circle.
The fourth row, consisting of Ruzicka, Lewis and Brad Richardson, did its part with the Flames’ third goal, putting three of four rows on the scoresheet.
Defensively, Sutter put Nikita Zadorov back into the lineup at the expense of Michael Stone.
Earlier today, the Flames recalled defenseman Juuso Valimaki from Stockton, where he played two games in the AHL.
The Flames host Carolina on Thursday, before Boston comes to town on Saturday.