On Saturday afternoon, the Calgary Flames did something they hadn’t done in 16 days: they won a hockey game. The Flames never held a lead, but rode a third period comeback to a shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Speaking with the media following the game, Flames head coach Bill Peters had a pretty succinct summation of the win: “It feels good, obviously. We needed it.”
Flames goaltender David Rittich, the NHL’s busiest goaltender thus far this season in terms of workload, weighed in on the emotion of the victory and the team’s effort overall.
“I think it’s great for us,” said Rittich. “The emotion was all game. We were talking all game and we played our best game in the 10 past games. So, it’s huge for us that win. But we have to keep working hard. If we’re going to keep it simple and work hard, we can get the results 2-1, 3-2, whatever it is, but we can get wins.”
Peters praised the team’s play, but did note how one-sided the second period was. The tying goal came with Rittich pulled for an extra attacker. It tied the Flames with Florida and the New York Islanders with five goals, the most any team has scored with the goalie pulled. While that’s good on its face, Peters put the accomplishment into its proper context.
“We’ve been in that situation too often,” said Peters. “I’d rather have a lead that doesn’t allow us to get our goaltender out. But you know what, I give those guys credit. A lot of poise. They spent some time in the zone, finally got it to the net and got a little bit of a bounce but we were due for a bounce I think, too. I just liked the response.”
(Only Detroit has played more minutes with their goalie pulled than the Flames.)
The Flames won, but they still haven’t had a lead during an actual game since their 5-2 win over New Jersey 16 days ago. So while the streak is over, it’s not like they’re about to plan a parade – there’s still work to be done on their game.
There are two games remaining on the road trip: Monday in Pittsburgh and Wednesday in Buffalo. If they keep things simple, they can come home with a record above .500.