The Calgary Flames were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs on Thursday night, losing to the Edmonton Oilers in overtime in Game 5 by a 5-4 score. Following the game, Flames head coach Darryl Sutter broke down how the series turned the Oilers’ way.

After discussing the steps the team took this season, Sutter summed up the series rather succinctly.

“Kinda run out of ammo in this round here,” Sutter said. “Quite honest, this series was about Games 2, Games 4 and Games 5, which was tonight. They were all tied in the third period halfway through. Edmonton scored the big goal, if you look at it. Game 2, Game 4, Game 5. Difference.”

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The Oilers won Game 2 by a 5-3 score after a pair of breakaway goals in the third period. They won Game 4 off Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ rebound goal. And they won Game 5 off Connor McDavid’s overtime goal. All three games had been tied during the third period.

Asked whether the better team won the series, Sutter pointed to McDavid as the difference-maker overall.

“The best player won the series for them,” said Sutter. “Hey, they won in five. You know what, it’s as I said. We scored the big goal in 2, 4 or 5 then you extend the series. And then the longer it goes, the better chance you have. Simple.”

Asked what his message was to his team after the loss, Sutter expressed pride in what the team accomplished during the season as a whole.

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“Keep your chin up and your chests out and walk out proud,” said Sutter. “Did a hell of a lot more than anybody said they’d do. I mean, the team that beat us was a favourite coming into the year and we weren’t even close, so, did a good job. I’m sure they’re disappointed, but that’s this division, against those guys.”

The Flames finished the regular season 50-21-11 and will hang a banner in the fall as 2021-22 Pacific Division Champions. They beat Dallas in seven games to advance past the first round for the first time since 2014-15. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom (Vezina Trophy), forward Elias Lindholm (Selke Trophy) and Sutter (Jack Adams Award) were named finalists for major individual awards. Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk both finished the regular season with over 100 points.

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Now it’s up to the club to ensure that these steps forward are properly built upon during the 2022-23 season and beyond.

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