In their first game under new/old head coach Darryl Sutter, the Calgary Flames were structured and composed en route to a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
Here are some selected quotes from the post-game media addresses.
Ryan had a strong first game for his new coach. He played 14:41, went 6-for-11 at the face-off dot, and had two assists. He discussed new coach Darryl Sutter’s emphasis on controlling the middle of the ice.
Darryl’s been pretty clear that he has a lot of attention and focus on the centreman on the team. He asks a lot out of us and I think rightfully so. I think a lot of NHL games are dictated from the middle of the ice out, so I think it’s important for us to be making the right decisions whether in the D-zone, if you’re in the right spot, throughout the neutral zone and at each blueline, the centreman are sort of the keystone there. We’re usually carrying the puck and having to make the right decision, whether it’s a play to the outside or a play just to get it in deep and establish our forecheck. Like I said, he’s made it clear that centremen are important and I like it.
In terms of differences in his team’s style of play in their first game under Sutter, Ryan singled out their forecheck.
Our forecheck was a lot better tonight than it has been in other games previously. I thought that Darryl’s made a couple of points on that. I thought we did a good job of getting pucks in behind their D and then being really structured in our forecheck. I think we gave them a little trouble turning pucks over and spending time in their O-zone that way.
— In The Dome (@InTheDomePod) March 12, 2021
Sutter had some nice things to say during his first post-game address, characterizing his team’s effort as “patient” and “pretty much mistake-free,” though noting the team did make six or seven turnovers that they need to get out of their system.
We had four lines. You want to win games in this division, you need four good lines, three good pair, and your goaltender to make some big saves or good saves. You know, I think we’re going to have to work at that because we’ll play a much better team on Saturday night than we played tonight.
In response to a question, Sutter praised the Ryan line and noted they were very good, but also teased that “it could be there was another line we couldn’t put out there.” Asked about that comment, Sutter elaborated (without singling a line out) that in their division “you have to play a a pace and you have to check” and they need to work with their players to do that.