The Calgary Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche by a 6-5 score on Thursday night. Here are selected reactions from players and coaches following the game.
The Flames stuck with the program
The Flames trailed 4-1 following the second period despite carrying the bulk of the play. But head coach Bill Peters gave his team kudos for sticking with their systems and not giving up – the main adjustment they made was getting a few extra bodies in front of Semyon Varlamov.
“After 40 it didn’t feel like we played the way the score reflected, the 4-1 score,” said Peters. “I thought we played a little better than that, and I give the guys credit for sticking with it.”
Flames captain Mark Giordano concurred with his coach’s assessment of the team’s effort through 40 minutes, and noted the game’s momentum shifted with the third period power play.
Honestly, it didn’t feel like a 4-1 game. we were really disappointed we were down by three after two. But we had a good opportunity with the power play there to get one back, and we did, and momentum shifted. We didn’t lay off the gas, that’s for sure.
Sam Bennett sticking up for Mark Jankowski
Both Peters and Giordano identified Sam Bennett sticking up for Mark Jankowski and tangling with Ian Cole late in the second period as one of the turning points of the game.
“That’s a big thing amongst teammates, when they’re willing to go to battle for one another,” said Giordano. “We got a power play out of the whole situation and they made it count. So a combination of those things created some momentum, and then we stuck with it. We were really aggressive and capitalized.”
Peters noted that Bennett, Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway sitting for much of the third period was a product of the situation, not Jankowski’s health – he’s fine, folks. The coach rolled with three lines for basically the entire third period, primarily due to the fact the team was chasing and that Bennett had sat for 17 minutes of game-time (or roughly 45 minutes of real time) and it would’ve been tough to throw him back out there in a close game.
Juuso Valimaki steps up
One of the common themes of the post-game chats was the impressive pinch (and hit) by rookie Juuso Valimaki that resulted in James Neal’s goal that tied the game at 4-4 in the third period. Flames forward Mikael Backlund had praise for the Finnish defender following the game.
“That was very impressive,” said Backlund. “He’s been impressive all year. I’m very excited for him. He’s done a great job stepping up and playing with a lot of poise, a lot of key situations or any situation in the game he’s been playing with a lot of poise out there. He’s a good player. I’m very happy he’s been doing well.”