On Saturday, the Calgary Flames were superb in a tightly-contested win over the Edmonton Oilers. On Monday in Montreal, they were the opposite of that in a 2-0 loss to the Canadiens.
Flames interim head coach Geoff Ward provided a pretty succinct assessment of his team’s setback in his chat with the media following the game:
Not enough emotional attachment to the game. This is twice this has happened to us after a big emotional game where we come out flat the next game. This is the time of year where we can’t do that. We’ve got to be prepared to play. We weren’t. We got out-battled, out-raced, out-competed, out-worked right from the very opening face-off.
While not mentioned in the clips of Ward’s media availability, it seems likely that the other letdown game was following the Flames’ win over Edmonton on Dec. 27. The Flames lost 5-1 to Vancouver two nights later.
In his remarks, Ward referred to the team as “flat” multiple times. Montreal had 12 of the first 13 shots of the game and generally out-played the Flames for much of the duration. Ward noted that the Flames didn’t get inside the Habs’ coverage all night or generate much traffic. Much of the problems in the Flames’ sixth shutout loss of the season boil down to getting out-worked.
“If you’re not working hard and you don’t play with structure, it’s pretty hard for your skill to come out and tonight we didn’t give our skill an opportunity to come out.”
The line shuffle
As has become tradition this season, no matter who’s been coaching, the Flames shuffled their lines in the third period in an effort to get some energy going.
It did not work, but it does basically cement that Mangiapane is the new Frolik.