Flames find lack of complete 60-minute efforts this season "concerning"

Jan 19 2023, 3:37 pm

In a proverbial measuring stick game, the Calgary Flames didn’t measure up.

Down 3-0 to the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche well before the first buzzer sounded, the Flames found themselves in a proverbial hole yet again, unable to dig themselves out of a hole created by inconsistency.

It’s not exactly a new narrative, either, with the team frequently lamenting an inability to construct a full 60 minutes this season.

It was no different Wednesday night.

“We’ve played 46 games now and we’re still looking for a really good game,” top centre Elias Lindholm said after the loss, which settled as a 3-1 setback to a team lower than them in the standings.

“It’s concerning.”

Calgary has now dropped two straight and has two wins in the past six games.

More concerning, though, is what they’ve left on the table of late, with extra-time losses to the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues, and 60-minute setbacks to the Nashville Predators and, now, the Avalanche.

“I think we have the same class in terms of players and potential as a team,” forward Blake Coleman said. “I think they’re playing up to their name and who they are, and we’re just not there yet. It’s been few and far between in the games that it’s been there. We’re still, for whatever reason, just the consistency is not good enough. That start was not good enough.

“You’re not looking for moral victories at this point of the year. We need wins. We need points. We need to climb in the standings. They were hungrier than us. They were better early on. And they won the game in the first 15 minutes.”

Won the game and closed the gap.

The Flames, who awoke Thursday still in a playoff spot, hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup dance with a 21-16-9 record for 51 points through 46 games played.

The Colorado team they were upended by sits two points back with three games at hand and a three-game winning streak in their pocket.

The Edmonton Oilers, who hold the first wild card, have cleared Calgary, too. They are two points up at an even 46 games thanks to a four-game winning streak.

Urgency, it seems, should be pretty high on Saturday when Calgary plays host to the Tampa Bay Lightning, themselves having won two Cups in the past three years.

“We’ve got to find a way to put 60 minutes together and come together as a group,” forward Tyler Toffoli added postgame. “It feels like every time we kind of get on a roll, we do something like this and we’re trying to find our game back.

“Not every game is going to be pretty, not every game is going to be 60 minutes of the best hockey you’ve ever seen, there’s going to be ups and downs. We’ve got to be able to find a way to deal with our emotions better and be ready for starts, score big goals at the right time, and put teams away.”

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

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