“I think you saw it": Flames' Huberdeau laments lack of shooting in latest loss

Dec 23 2022, 5:06 pm

Jonathan Huberdeau needs to shoot.

He knows it. You know it.

And it might’ve cost the Calgary Flames an additional point in the standings by way of an overtime loss against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.

“I think you saw it,” Huberdeau told media matter-of-factly following a 4-3 overtime loss against their Pacific Division foe. “I’ve got to shoot. It’s always been like that. It sucks. I’ve got to shoot. Obviously, I try to make a pass for an empty net for the other guy, but I have to keep it simple, shoot the puck.

“That’s what I’ve got to do.”

Calgary rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force extra time, and with the puck on his stick directly in front of Kings netminder Pheonix Copley, Huberdeau instead tried to execute a between-the-legs drop pass through two defenders for a potential tap-in to teammate Nazem Kadri just 72 seconds into the bonus skate.

The play happened just two feet from the edge of the crease, with no Los Angeles defender set to challenge Huberdeau’s one-on-one attempt.

With just over two minutes remaining, Huberdeau, who scored on a breakaway earlier in the matchup, double-clutched with the puck on his stick in the slot, instead forcing a return pass to Mikael Backlund in a less-than-ideal situation that eventually sprung Adrian Kempe and Victor Arvidsson on a 2-on-1 that turned into the eventual winner.

“Probably the only thing you’d want back is shoot the puck in overtime,” Flames coach Darryl Sutter said postgame. “Their top goal scorer shot it in the net.”

When asked if he’d have a discussion with Huberdeau about pulling the trigger more, Sutter quipped, “I prefer you go ask him about that.”

Huberdeau, a 30-goal scorer with the Florida Panthers a year ago, has 51 shots in 31 games to kick off his Flames career.

The figure puts him 13th among all skaters on the club behind the likes of Nikita Zadorov, Trevor Lewis, MacKenzie Weegar, and Blake Coleman.

Had Huberdeau — who fired 222 shots on net in 80 games in 2021-22 — managed his 52nd or 53rd, the Flames might be looking at an additional point.

“We fought hard in the third to come back and get a huge point,” said Huberdeau, who has 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) this season, including five points (one goal, four assists) in his past three games and 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in his last 14 games.

“Obviously in overtime, you want to score and get a win.”

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

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