The Calgary Flames played a pretty good game against the New York Islanders on Monday night. But a strong first and second period were undone by some challenging puck management decisions in the third period, leading to a 4-3 overtime loss to the Islanders.
For the third time in the past five games, the Flames let a third period lead slip away.
It’s a shame, because the opening 40 minutes were among the best the Flames have played all season.
“I thought we played really well,” said head coach Darryl Sutter in his address to the media following the game. “I think we were really good from the outset. We turned a couple pucks over that cost us a point.”
Back on Oct. 29, the Flames allowed two third period goals by Edmonton and lost 3-2 – the game-deciding goal was caused by a turnover. On Nov. 1, a series of puck management gaffes led to three third-period goals by Seattle and the Flames lost 5-4.
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Against the Islanders, the Flames entered the third period with a 3-1 lead, but too many turnovers at key times allowed New York to draw even and win in overtime.
“You know what, I think we had lots of opportunities to win it,” said Sutter. “But I don’t think we got the type of power that we’re going to bulldoze teams. We just can’t make those little mistakes. When we have the puck behind their net when it’s 3-1, you can’t give it back to them. We have the puck entering their zone and we give it back to them. That’s what happens.”
That’s what happens.
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Sutter alluded to the need for a complete 60 minute game. But given where the team’s progression is at and how close the last few games were, he seemed reasonably happy with getting points out of the last two games.
“You always gotta have the mental toughness to stick with it,” said Sutter. “It don’t always go smooth. You need some leadership on the ice in terms of by example, and I thought we did that for 40 minutes. So, just have to complete it.”
The Flames are back in action on Tuesday night when they visit the New Jersey Devils in Newark.