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Flames can't find handle on wild affair

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

It seemed that the last shot would win the game. It was one of those crazy games where both teams, defensively, were not very good. They ended up getting the last best chance, and they got the game.Bob Hartley

CALGARY, AB -- Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley called it pond hockey. Jonas Hiller called it a tough one to lose.

The Flames managed to put five up against Florida Panthers goaltender Al Montoya but fell 6-5 in a wild back-and-forth affair at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

“Whatever you want to call it,” Hartley said. “It seemed that the last shot would win the game. It was one of those crazy games where both teams, defensively, were not very good. They ended up getting the last best chance, and they got the game.”

Montoya stopped 20 of 25 shots faced for the win.

Hiller made 29 saves in the loss.

“It seemed like somehow every puck found the back of the net at both ends,” he said. “It's tough to win if you give up six goals. I thought that, especially in our zone, we weren't as solid as usually. Sure, we were scoring goals, but if you give up more, you still don't win.

“You start overthinking things, you, as goalie, the guys in front of you. You're kind of second-guessing every decision and playing that way, it's tough and more and more bounces are going to happen. It's definitely not an easy game, but we still have to find a way.”

The Flames scored on the first puck they threw Montoya’s way, one of a pair from Matt Stajan on the night, at 2:42 of the first period. Jonathan Huberdeau replied less than two minutes later.

The Panthers went up 2-1 at 13:12. Calgary responded at 16:36 with TJ Brodie’s first of two.

The second period mimicked the first.

Mikael Backlund, with his second in as many games since returning after missing 29 with an abdominal injury, moved Calgary ahead 3-2 just 2:27 in. Nineteen seconds later, Florida evened the score.

Brodie’s second at 8:13 pulled Calgary ahead. Nine minutes later, Jimmy Hayes beat Hiller.

Brian Campbell did too, at 9:29 of the third period, but Stajan erased that with another at 16:06.

The final blow came via Tomas Fleischmann, who lifted a backhand over Hiller with just 3:09 remaining in the game.

Calgary couldn’t counter.

“It was sort of a roller coaster out there,” Brodie said. “We did well offensively but defensively, we gave them a couple too many chances. We've got to find a way to take those away.

“I think it's just mental breakdowns. You never want to give up goals right after you score or at the start or near end of periods, and tonight we did that. It's definitely something we want to change.”

Stajan called it a sloppy effort.

“We have to keep it simple and settle down after we're able to get those goals,” he said. “Mental breakdowns and sloppy play cost us. Sometimes, you get some bounces against you that cost you, but we had some bounces for us, too. You've got to find a way to get on the right side of the scoreboard, and tonight we weren't able to do that.

“You can say whatever you want, but we know we've got to be better than we played tonight and have to make sure we come out tomorrow and find a way to win.”

Hartley wouldn’t hang his goaltender out to dry.

“I don't think that as a team, we were good enough to win. Plain and simple,” he said. “We had many breakdowns. We had quite a few passengers. So to point one guy? You win as a team, you lose as a team. It was a game that was right there for us and we refused to take it. We were just not good enough.”

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