If you’ve flown a lot or know somebody that has, you’ve probably heard the joke “any landing you can walk away from…” to describe a bumpy flight. The conceit is that at least you didn’t die, so in theory the flight was a success.
Based on his comments following his team’s 4-3 overtime comeback victory, Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters isn’t a huge fan of that joke.
The two big discussion points post-game were the wholesale changes to the three defensive pairings and the dramatic comeback. Peters discussed both at some length in his chat with the media, and he did not hold back.
So, why did he shuffle up the defenders in the second period?
Well, we weren’t very good. And we weren’t moving the puck. We couldn’t pass the puck. Everything’s in the feet, everything’s behind guys. When you look slow, it’s puck speed. It’s execution with the puck. There’s guys open and we don’t see them. There’s guys open, we put it behind them. It’s the National Hockey League, we’ve gotta be able to make a pass.
But hey, for the second time in four games, the Flames snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a great third period push. Sure, it’s worrying that they needed to do it, but they did it.
Speaking after the game, overtime hero Matthew Tkachuk struggled to put his finger on what exactly the Flames did late in the game to get back into things.
“I think that we’ve been a third period team for a couple years now,” said Tkachuk. “I don’t know why that is. But we’ve got to start on time here. It’s kind of exhausting playing from behind in the third but we’ve had good success doing it.”
Peters agreed with Tkachuk’s assessment, expanding on prior comments that the comebacks are covering up some team challenges.
“Let’s not be hanging our hat on that,” said Peters. “Let’s not be counting on this. It’s not a recipe for success long term. It’s not a recipe for success at all. Let’s start on time, let’s get physically engaged. Hopefully we’re able to make some changes, because we look flat, we look comfortable. We look too comfortable.”
Peters pointed to the suddenness of the second Arizona goal – a tip-in by Christian Dvorak – as illustrative of the challenges the team is having.
“We’re in the D zone and all of a sudden it’s just bang in the net?” said Peters. “Like, seriously? We talked about freebies earlier in the year. It’s a little too easy to get to our net. A little too easy to ring up quality changes. So, it’s time. There will be good discussions tonight and tomorrow.”
The Flames are a couple games north of .500 (9-7-2) and have yet to play a really strong 60 minutes of hockey.