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Ryan Huska liked the Calgary Flames’ effort in tough penultimate game loss to Canucks

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
1 month ago
The Calgary Flames fell 4-1 in the penultimate game of the 2023-24 season to the Vancouver Canucks, but even though the score might seem a bit lopsided with the Flames not scoring a goal until the third period from Brayden Pachal (his second of the season) head coach Ryan Huska was a fan of the team’s effort and output. They posted 40 shots to Vancouver’s 31, although they did lose the expected goals battle by a decent margin — 3.81 to 2.32.
“I liked the effort,” Huska said in his comments to the media. “Not the result, but the effort was there for us for, I felt, the full 60 minutes. We made three mistakes on coming back into our own zone off the rush. We lost people. And then one turnover, but other than those mistakes, I liked what we did tonight.”
Thatcher Demko played his first game back since Mar. 9 after sustaining a knee injury when he took on the Winnipeg Jets, and boy, what a return it was. He made some big stops along the way, even though the Flames, like I mentioned, did lose the expected goals battle.
A 96 MPH Yegor Sharangovich shot in the first period, a couple of shots off the post, including one from former Canuck Andrei Kuzmenko, and some really strong rebound control on hard shots later in the game. You can find some videos of the saves that I’m referring to in this recap article by our friends at CanucksArmy.
“I thought their goalie was really good tonight,” Huska said. “The saves that he made, some of them were harder than he made them look, and he did a good job of controlling his rebounds.”
As mentioned earlier, the Flames’ only goal came off the stick of Pachal. At this point, with nothing else on the line other than their draft lottery position, it’s good to see players who don’t usually see their names in the goal column.
Pachal has been very good since joining the Flames as a waiver claim, and it felt deserved that he get rewarded for his efforts before the season ended.
“You like to see guys get their first goal,” Huska said. “He’s a guy that I don’t think you’re going to see generate a lot in his career, but he is one of those workers and guys that try to engage as much as he can in the game, so it’s nice to see him get rewarded.”
Speaking of a guy who is “one of those workers,” Adam Klapka found his way into the lineup for the first time since playing the Chicago Blackhawks in late January, and he was about as good as anyone could have expected him to be. He only played a total of 7:25, but he finished with two shots on net and led the Flames in hits with six, double the number of the next player, a tie between Jonathan Huberdeau and Martin Pospisil.
Coach Huska was proud of Klapka’s effort in the loss.
“I thought Adam was good,” Huska said. “I mean, [he had] a mistake early in the game, but he tried to finish his hits tonight, and he was involved. That’s what we look for out of him, so I thought he did a good job.”
The Flames have one final game remaining against the San Jose Sharks before the 2023-24 season ends, and the players and head coach are looking to end on a good note despite missing the post-season. An all-around effort from everyone on the roster would be good for fans to see on display for the final time this season, even if it ends in a loss.
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