Quips and Quotes: Flames lose to Lightning 5-4 in a shootout

The Calgary Flames lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 5-4 score in a shootout on Thursday night. Here are selected reactions from players and coaches following the game.

Flames measure up in a close game

Heading into this match-up, you could be forgiven if you used the term “measuring stick game.” Heck, we used it in our pre-game. But the Lightning came into this game as the undisputed best team in the National Hockey League.

And the Flames went toe-to-toe with them for 65 minutes and seven rounds of a shootout.

“Honestly, it was probably one of the faster games we played in all year,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano. “Back and forth. That’s a great team over there. We know we can play with anyone. We just, we wanted to get that extra one tonight, but we’ll take the point in a hard-fought game.”

A frequent query after the game was regarding what the Flames learned about their group. The thought was that a game like this might illuminate them on any deficiencies they have in their group. They got a bit loose defensive early in the second period after the Lightning gained momentum from a penalty kill, but the result seemed to reinforce the confidence the Flames have in their group’s ability to hang with the NHL’s top dogs.

“I thought we had confidence coming into the game,” said Giordano. “We know what type of team we are. Our styles are a little bit similar where we generate a lot. It was a hard-fought game. They’re a great team. They make plays under pressure. It was a good game.”

What did the coach learn about his group?

“The penalty kill was good,” said Peters. “We had it out there a little too much. We had it out there four consecutive times, three in the second. PK was good, goaltender was good. Big saves in both ends. Clutch goal there; they scored with under five minutes to go to take the lead and we tied it up after that. We were resilient there. So there’s lots to learn.”

Gaudreau scores big goal, gets big air

Flames fans are used to seeing Johnny Gaudreau score big goals. They’re less used to seeing Gaudreau launch himself into the air in celebration.

“I had a lot of speed there,” explained Gaudreau following the game. “I saw the fans jump up, so I jumped, too.”

  • Calgarycandle

    At the game. The power-less play in the second led to a complete change in momentum. Calgary dominated in the first and after the pp Tampa dominated the first half of the second. Overall, I felt the Flames had the better looks and with a little more puck luck would have won in regulation or ot. PK shut down one of the most potent pp’s in the league, so appreciate that part of the special teams battle. GFG!!

  • Pizzaman

    Also at the dome, great seats, fun game. Good game!
    Watched Neal float around. Cant carry a puck into the zone, no speed, doesn’t use his body, his idea of a forecheck is to wave his stick around like Harry Potter’s wand. Is not hard on pucks, compare his effort to Bennett’s and you see why Neal does not deserve 1st or 2nd line spots. But the biggest Neal joke was his shootout shot. He didn’t move the goalie at all and just shot into the center of the chest. A Timbits move. What a joke. After 36 games we see what Neal is. He is not going to magically transform into a scoring machine in the next 46 games unless he does have Harry Potter’s wand.

  • BendingCorners

    That was a good game and the Flames are a good team. Probably not as good as the top four contenders but definitely in the next group of challengers. A move or two at the TDL might get them into the Final this year.
    I’m inclined to give Neal a pass for tonight’s game; he appears to have a fractured jaw and should have been kept out of the lineup. He had been playing better the past two or three games and hopefully he gets back on track since he isn’t going anywhere until at least June.
    Bennett, Rittich and Gaudreau were great tonight. Nice to see Backlund score.

    • slapshot444

      Just came from the dome, sat down low, we focused on Neal on a couple of shifts. its hard to understand how bad he is. No other way to describe it but its like he’s a faker and doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. Rarely in a good position, doesn’t fight for the puck on the boards,,,,checking… what’s that?? Then he goes out for the shootout!!! Ok, so like no one got the puck up fo the shoot out but WTF before Bennet, before Quine, before any other player!! F…… I would have Smitty out there before Neal.. What’s a coach to do…press box for one,, waive him and send to Stockton to learn how to play Flames hockey for two,, bite the bullet and trade at the deadline for three. 2X worst than Brower..

  • Garry T

    Observations regarding Tampa game.
    Tampa is faster and better structured and they will win the cup this year.
    Calgary is a good squad. There is a lot of talent there.
    When they are focused on the fore and back checking, they created opportunities and when they backed off which they did in period 2, they look average.
    If Lomberg is the best we have to bring up, we are in trouble.
    Noticed our D looked slow going to retrieve pucks in our zone. Looked afraid to get hit. Really need to use team speed in place.
    Bad line changes lead to two goals and extra man on the ice penalties.

    They need to:
    Work daily on crisp breakouts, hard skating through center ice and entering the zone with an attack plan and a focus of shoot first . Back passing and trying to pass the puck when you have a clean shot lane is brutal. Pick your target, shoot and get in tight for rebounds.
    2. The give away factor shows a pattern of zero practice or player positioning to counter or go on the attack. We had 50 giveaways if we had one. Good teams do not do that.
    3. We need to bring in a Niederrieter or similar top six forward Soon as Possible. Doing so would give us a strong second line, use in house resources to build a strong, quick aggressive 3 rd. Line and use people we have for an aggressive 4th line.
    4. Our D is not doing the job in our end. They are standing still, not creating plays to counter attack quickly and they are not rimming the puck out when the other team is pressuring.

    When we are playing well, we are quick on the opposing player creating havoc.
    5. Last night’s game was a great game. But we came out in the 2nd knowing Tampa was going to come out hard and we let them. The two goals allowed were pure panic and no structure. Maybe they though they had a laugher on their hands. Whatever, no structure costs you goals.
    6. No tick tack toe plays for the most part. When there is no one to pass to pick your target and fire the puck. 20 lobs if there was one.

    The team does not look like it is in shape. The last 3 games they have looked slow and tired. Bob’s ladders?

    We need to waive/ trade Neal. Send Lomberg back, play Reichel and Quine and add another body for bottom six. So one for top and one for bottom sixes and we need to do that the first week in January. If that costs us one young D, do it.

    • Avalain

      Those are some interesting observations, thanks. The one thing that I’d like to point out is that I seriously don’t believe that the team is out of shape. Not at this point in the season. Instead, I’m worried that what you see is fatigue. Short shifting them all the time might be wearing on them? That being said, 3 games in 4 days can be rough on anyone.

      • Cfan in Van

        I also don’t agree that the team is in bad shape, physically. Let’s remember who they were playing against, one of the fastest team in the League. The same can be said for the 2nd period. While their structure wasn’t good enough, it was certainly emphasized by the fact that Tampa is the best in the League, and there’s not a lot of teams that can shut them down when the really put their foot down.
        And this is all while carrying a “top 6 forward” who’s forgotten how to play. Not bad, considering.