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Calgary Flames interim head coach Geoff Ward left no doubt about the failed coach’s challenge in the second period: “The right call was made, 100 percent.”

Speaking with the assembled media mere moments after his club had its seven game winning streak halted via a 4-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, Ward was pretty candid about his feelings regarding the challenge.

“There was a lot going on there,” said Ward of the review. “If he were to touch the puck a fraction of a second earlier, there was a little bit of time from the time the puck got knocked back in to the time that he actually put his stick on the puck to give the other guy time to tag up again. So, he gets his stick down a fraction of a second quicker we probably get the off-side call. It just felt like it was worth challenging at that point and we lost the challenge.”

Ward praised his team for their strong first period – Elias Lindholm called it their best opening period of the season – but noted that Carolina pushed in the second and were able to get back into it. Ultimately, the Flames were out-scored in every game situation – they allowed goals at even strength, power play, shorthanded and via empty net – but they weren’t dramatically out-played by a very talented Hurricanes squad.

“This is our fourth game in six nights, with travel, and we’ve won three of four games,” said Ward. “We’ll take that, in any stretch of the schedule, so we’ll just put this one behind us and have a good practice Monday, and get ready for Tuesday.”

Even in the loss, the ever-reliable David Rittich made 27 saves.

Special teams the big difference

If you were to point to one match-up that tilted the game, it was the Flames’ power play against Carolina’s penalty kill. (If you subscribe to the Athletic, Sara Civian has done a lot of stuff on the Carolina PK this season, and it ties into a lot of what the analytics community is calling the “power kill.”)

The Flames had eight shots and seven high danger scoring chances on the power play. James Reimer was sharp and Warren Foegele made a nice individual effort to score shorthanded in the third period. It was a bit of cold water thrown on a Flames special teams unit that had been pretty productive over the last stretch, but potentially it could lead to them mixing up their tactics a bit and doing a bit more with lateral puck movement to force the opposition’s PK to open up the middle of the ice a bit more.

If you focus on the overall special teams battle, the Flames got zero goals and Carolina got a pair. That, ultimately, swung the game.