It’s happened a little too often this season. Down the stretch here we have to find a way to minimize these kinds of situations even though we know we’re great in the third period. We have to put ourselves in a better position. - Mikael Backlund
DENVER, CO -- Down the stretch, the Calgary Flames can’t get down.
That’s the message coming from Calgary’s camp following a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Arena on Saturday, a game that saw the Flames rely on yet another third period rally -- but fall one short.
“Obviously it’s not ideal,” forward Mikael Backlund said. “It’s happened a little too often this season. Down the stretch here we have to find a way to minimize these kinds of situations even though we know we’re great in the third period. We have to put ourselves in a better position.”
In Denver, Calgary didn’t.
And, as a result, a rally was needed after a former member of the Flames put the Avalanche up in the second period.
Alex Tanguay beat Flames goaltender Karri Ramo from a sharp-angle at 9:40 and at 11:27, Tanguay fed Ryan O’Reilly, who extended the lead to two.
“They both hurt,” David Jones said. “It’s just tough to be down 2-0 and fight back. We’ve been on the good side of things so much this year and just came up a little short.
“We have faith. We just came up a little short on that third goal.
“We hung in there. It wasn’t quite enough.”
The Flames, who are first in the NHL with 10 wins when trailing after 40 minutes and tops with a plus-27 goal differential in the third period, started the comeback bid 3:54 into the third with Jones’ 12th goal of the season.
It took Colorado just 28 seconds to restore their two-goal cushion thanks to John Mitchell’s snap shot at 4:22.
Just over a minute later, Lance Bouma stepped into a slap shot to pull Calgary back to within one, but a third goal from the Flames to tie the game couldn’t be found.
“They did a good job in the third period not giving us a lot,” said Bouma, who had a chance in the dying seconds to tie the game but had his stick lifted before getting the opportunity to beat Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
“Obviously frustrating because you’re in that spot for a reason. Coach (Bob Hartley) wants you to do something and put the puck in the back of the net and it’s disappointing at the end it didn’t go in there.”
The loss, Backlund admitted, came down to falling behind.
“They were better than us in the second period and that’s when they took over the game and created momentum,” said Backlund, who with an assist on Jones’ goal extended his personal point-scoring streak to eight games in the loss. “We were trying to fight back in the second and when we scored a goal we let them score right away after. That killed our momentum. That was the turning point.
“We gave it a push though. We had a lot of chances in the end and fought all the way. It’s this team. We never give up. It was too bad we couldn’t score the third one.”