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.
— Sportsnet 960 (@Sportsnet960) December 21, 2018
“I had a lot of speed there,” explained Gaudreau following the game. “I saw the fans jump up, so I jumped, too.”