The Calgary Flames beat the Florida Panthers by a 4-3 score on Friday night. Here are selected reactions from players and coaches following the game.
Another flat start, but Flames keep winning
As has become the habit lately, the Flames were out-played early in this game. But as has become the habit lately, the Flames found their legs, made adjustments, and managed to capture two points.
“I thought we were poor at the beginning, across the board, everybody,” said Flames head coach Bill Peters. “And then we started winning some face-offs, having the puck more, and that led to some shots and some zone time. And then we started to build a game from there.”
To his credit, Peters isn’t hiding behind the Flames’ lofty position in the standings – they’re in first place in the Western Conference following the victory. His post-game media address included some pretty blunt commentary on the way his team has been playing.
“We haven’t played well here for awhile, but it’s been masked by the fact that we’ve gotten wins, but we haven’t played well,” said Peters, going on to explain the root of the uneven play. “Because we’ve continued to win, and so they think ‘oh, we’re obviously playing well and that’s good enough, the effort’s good enough, the execution’s good enough,’ when in reality it’s not been to the level we should be at and can be at.”
Another night of line shuffles
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: the Flames got down early, so Peters had to bust out the old bingo tumbler and mix up his lines and shorten his bench.
“I thought I was going to be able to play four lines tonight, that was kind of the mindset going into it,” explained Peters. “And then we fell behind early and didn’t have any jump, so then we had to get going with nine guys and try to get nine guys more ice time and a little bit more of an emotional attachment in the game.”
The first line (Gaudreau-Monahan-Lindholm), third line (Bennett-Jankowski-Neal) and third pairing (Kylington-Andersson) were kept intact, but everything else got shuffled. The 3M Line was reunited as Michael Frolik went from the fourth to the second line with Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk, while Austin Czarnik was dropped to the fourth line with Andrew Mangiapane and Derek Ryan and saw his usage dropped quite a bit while the Flames trailed.
If you’re connecting the dots, it’s probably reasonable to expect lines to be a bit more consistent if/when the Flames return to playing 60 minutes of hockey a night.