The Calgary Flames didn’t win in Pittsburgh on Monday night. At this point of their season, they’re hoping to string together some good performances, grab some points, and build their game back up. There were a few things to like about their 3-2 overtime setback to the Penguins.
Generally, the Flames had better puck management than they had in previous weeks. They kept the defensive breakdowns to a minimum and played a pretty smart, structured game against the Penguins.
“I thought we had good zone time and had good control throughout the game,” said Sean Monahan to the media following the game. “But when you go into overtime like that and you’re getting chances you have to capitalize. When you get into that situation you want that extra point bad.”
Johnny Gaudreau seemed more engaged on both sides of the puck than he has in awhile. He had four scoring chances, the most of any Flame, and had the game on his stick in overtime. The puck took a bounce on him and he wasn’t able to finish his breakaway, but it may be a sign that he’s getting his mojo back.
“I think we did a lot of good things,” said Gaudreau. “Obviously we didn’t get the win, so there’s still things we can be better at, obviously. And we’re going to keep pushing to get better each day. But we were right there, almost had it in overtime. So it’s unfortunate.”
The new-look third line of Dillon Dube, Derek Ryan and Milan Lucic finally cashed in with a goal. And for everyone hoping that the Flames will get that conditional pick from the James Neal trade, the good news is that Dube was the one that scored the goal. Dube’s been strong since his recall and making a good case for continued NHL duty when Austin Czarnik and Sam Bennett eventually return.
On the other hand? David Rittich was rock-solid but still faced nearly 40 shots. The Flames were out-shot, out-chanced and out-high-dangered, though not by massive margins. They scored first and had a lead, but held it for just over four minutes of the game. Otherwise? They chased, again.
Progress has been made, but the Flames still have work to do to build their game to where it needs to be if they want to be a playoff team.