Calgary Flames cap off March with impressive victory over Kings, Huska pleased with the team’s attention to detail

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
3 months ago
After a five-game losing streak put the Calgary Flames all but out of the playoffs, they came back to the Saddledome and put on a show for the fans, beating the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 4-2.
The Flames lost to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, and many in the locker room, including head coach Ryan Huska, believed they should have come out with a different, more favourable result. Well, they got a good result against a strong team in the Pacific Division.
The favourable result was due to a lot of different factors (the power play likely being the main one according to many), but one of the more subtle ways the Flames were able to contribute to a win was not only being strong in their defensive zone but also in the neutral zone.
In the end, the Kings finished the game with 18 total shots compared to Calgary’s 35.
“I thought we did a really good job [defensively],” Huska said following the game. “I think for us, it’s more about the pressure up the ice that allowed us to have some success, and I thought our guys were very detailed in the neutral zone. So, we did a good job with our structure and made it hard for them to get through us. And then when they did in the third period a little bit, I thought Marky was excellent.”
The Flames didn’t lead in the shot-blocking statistic, but the blocks that they earned came at big times. Rasmus Andersson, in particular, put his body on the line a couple of times, which not only wears off on the team around him (especially on a season-long basis), but also contributes to the standards that the Flames coaching staff is trying to uphold.
“I think there are standards,” Huska said. “Whether you’re in the playoffs or out of the playoffs, you have to have standards and expectations of yourself first and foremost and then of your teammates. So if you’re going to do things like that, then it’s easy for you to expect someone else to do the same thing. If you’re looking to build something, those are things that are very important.”
Having young players come up and watch the veterans put their bodies on the line to save a game or create a chance the other way is a huge momentum and morale boost. The defence core has been very good at blocking shots — Andersson (13) and MacKenzie Weegar (7) both rank in the top 15, and Chris Tanev, now in Dallas, also ranked in the top 15 while he was with the Flames. There is a trickle-down effect to that kind of effort.
The result the Flames saw tonight was one that they earned, and Coach Huska knows it, saying he believes the team’s overall game tonight was “maybe one of our more complete ones of the year.”
As I talked about in previous articles, even if the team doesn’t win, what the fans want is entertaining hockey. Of course, there will be those who want the team to lose as much as possible, but wins are always fun, especially when it’s an in-division opponent that is very talented. The attention to detail paid off for Coach Huska’s team and gave the fans in attendance a fun game to watch.
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