It wasn’t a make-it-or-break-it loss for the Calgary Flames, but Saturday’s home-ice 8-3 beatdown at the hands of Edmonton Oilers was certainly embarrassing.
Maybe even humiliating enough to spark the Flames to a better effort and performance when they play host to the free-falling San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night, and even beyond.
“I want (this) feeling to stick with us for a while, for sure,” interim coach Geoff Ward said after his team’s dismantling. “If you’re not a little bit angry in your stomach about what happened and it’s not bothering you, you’ve probably got an issue. So, we need to harness that a little bit … we have to make sure our minds get there, that we take what we need to out of this game.”
The Flames have just one win their last four games (1-2-1) and have fallen to fourth in the Pacific Division and the top wild-card position in the Western Conference.
The Edmonton loss, though, was particularly mortifying. Calgary trailed the Oilers 2-0 just 65 seconds into the game, then worked its way back to a 4-3 count just past the midway point before being left in the dust.
“It was 2-0 before the flood was even dry out there, so we’re chasing the game all night,” captain Mark Giordano said. “Actually thought when it was 4-3 we had a good chance at getting back in this one and making it a game, and then a couple of breakdowns later it’s 6-3. So we allowed a team that thrives on offense and putting pucks in the net … we allowed their best players to really feel it and that was the difference.”
The Sharks arrive in Calgary to kick off a short road trip that also includes Edmonton on the heels of a 3-0 home loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. They have lost two straight and five of their last six, but coach Bob Boughner isn’t about to chastise his team too much. The Sharks are without two of their best offensive players — Logan Couture (who is expected to be out of action until mid-February due to an ankle injury) and Tomas Hertl, who had knee surgery on Monday for a season-ending injury.
Even still, the Sharks must find some scoring. They’ve managed just seven goals in the last five games.
“We’re getting the looks that we want, it’s just bearing down, and that’s the difference right now to give ourselves a chance,” Boughner said. “We’re not scoring a lot five-on-five, so we need our power play to catch a little fire.”
“We’re not creating a lot offensively,” added forward Evander Kane. “We haven’t since before the (All-Star) break. We’ve got to find a way to create more offense and score more goals. We can’t have the mindset that one goal is enough to win.”
The Tampa Bay loss also knocked another player out of the Sharks lineup. Center Joel Kellman, injured in the first period of Saturday’s game when he was hit face-first into the boards, has been placed on the injured reserve list.
–Field Level Media