There are two ways to look at the Calgary Flames’ 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night. On one hand, they were playing shorthanded and still earned a point. On the other hand, they couldn’t find a way to win at home for the fourth consecutive game.
There’s an element of truth in both perspectives. The Flames were without the services of Michael Stone for the vast majority of the game, but managed to scrape out a point.
Stone left the game after his first shift, logging just 26 seconds of ice time. Connor Mackey, playing his third of the season, struggled at times and played just 10:40.
That left the Flames leaning heavily on four defenders:
  • Rasmus Andersson played 29:43
  • MacKenzie Weegar played 28:41
  • Nikita Zadorov played 28:24
  • Noah Hanifin played 24:42
“I thought they gave it all they had, all they could,” said head coach Darryl Sutter post-game. “It was a short bench.”
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The bench got even shorter in the third period, with Sutter opting not to use Mikael Backlund, Kevin Rooney or Milan Lucic in that frame. That move functionally limited the team to using three lines and two pairings, with Mackey rotating into the blueline group occasionally.
Sutter had a pretty blunt assessment of the veterans that he sat for the third period.
“If they don’t have the energy or emotion in the game, then they don’t get to play,” said Sutter. “I don’t care. It doesn’t really matter who they are. The guys that played in the third got us the point.”
The Flames got goals from Nazem Kadri, Elias Lindholm and Zadorov in regulation, but a penalty call to Lindholm in overtime led to Fabian Zetterlund’s second goal of the game to win it for New Jersey. Sutter was critical of the penalty call post-game, with Zadorov referring to it as “a shit penalty.”
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The Flames generated eight shots on goal across two power plays, but just one shot during a 26-second five-on-three advantage. Via Natural Stat Trick, the Flames generated three high-danger chances on their power plays but those translated into zero goals.
Goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 31 saves to help the Flames capture the point. Sutter referred to his netminder’s play as “awesome.” It marked another strong performance for Markstrom, arguably dating back to the Flames’ Oct. 22 overtime win over Carolina. He might not be stealing games for his team, but he’s doing his best to give them a fighting chance.
The Flames were without the services of Chris Tanev for the second consecutive game due to an upper-body injury. Sutter didn’t provide any updates on Stone’s situation following the game, but heading into a three game road trip – with three games in four nights – the club may be without two of their most reliable defenders. The status of both players for the road trip remains unclear and the Flames may be forced to summon a player from the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers for the first time to fill out their lineup.
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The Flames begin their road trip on Monday evening against the New York Islanders.