The anatomy of the Calgary Flames’ 19th loss of the 2019-20 season was both familiar and a little bit different. They faced a 4-3 overtime setback to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday evening.
The Flames scored first, for just the 14th time in 37 games.
The Flames led after the first period, for just the 11th time in 37 games.
But the Flames, once again, laid an egg in the second period and lost momentum. They’ve only led after 40 minutes 11 times this season, which is way too infrequently for a team that has this much (on paper) talent.
“I thought we were good for the first 10 minutes,” said interim coach Geoff Ward. “We gave them two chances in the first 10, then once they got that first goal they kind of put us back on our heels a little bit and they got some momentum and then the tables shifted. They came at us hard.”
The Flames had a good first. Not quite as dominant as they had against Carolina or Pittsburgh, but very sharp and engaged nonetheless. Then, as with Carolina and Pittsburgh’s games, they didn’t manage the puck well in the neutral zone and let the air out of the balloon.
“Our starts have been good, I think we’re coming out with a lot of energy,” said Ward. “I think we’ve been doing a good job putting the pucks in behind when there’s no room in front and getting in to our fore-check. I think our shift length has been good in the first period, we’ve been able to roll four lines and get everybody into the hockey game.”
Via Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson, Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk wasn’t happy with the result.
#Flames Tkachuk on OTL to Habs: “We’re not satisfied with a point. We were up 2-0 at one point in the game and up 3-2 with 10 minutes left. The best teams find a way to win that one in regulation and we did a good job of that a couple weeks ago, but we have to get back to that.”
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) December 20, 2019
You can’t help but think the Flames let a potentially big point slip away. However they can, they need to unlock the secrets of playing a consistent, composed 60 minutes of hockey. 37 games into the regular season, we have yet to see them really impose themselves on a game for three full periods.