DETROIT, MI -- Was the result disappointing? Yes.
But in Friday's 3-2 setback to the Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan saw plenty of positives from his crew.
As per HockeyStats.ca, the Flames out chanced the Blackhawks 21-17 and outshot Chicago 30-24. Their top line got going, with Sam Bennett and Sean Monahan scoring. They received solid goaltending from Chad Johnson.
So, while the final score didn't swing their way, the way they played was exactly what the coaching staff want to see on a nightly basis.
"This league has a way of evening things out. We look at our Minnesota game; we won 1-0 and we got a good goalie performance but were we outplayed at points in that game? Yeah, for sure. Did we outplay Chicago at points in that game? Yeah, we did. It just evens itself out," Gulutzan explained.
"The message to the guys is just stay the course. The league has a way of leveling everything. If we keep playing a certain way, we can win more than we lose."
Garnet Hathaway, who has gotten into three games since being summoned from the Stockton Heat on Nov. 12, echoed his bench boss' message this morning.
"We've been playing well. If we stick to that simple game we've been playing, we'll get our chances. I think that's what makes us a better team than a lot of teams in this league. We'll wait on it; we'll get our chances and we'll capitalize."
Friday's game-winning goal came on a play that the Flames would have liked to issue a coach's challenge on but they had already burned their timeout earlier in the period. Hossa's tally could have been checked for high-sticking or goaltender interference - a rough call for Johnson but the netminder has already put that being him.
"Just move on," Johnson said. "You prepare the same everyday, regardless if you win a hockey game or not.
"You forget about it and move on. It happens and it's going to happen again, I'm sure, this year. It's just how it is with professional hockey. You just continue to do the same things and have that same compete that we did the last game and trust that we'll have success."
Tonight, the Flames kick off a lengthy road trip in Detroit against a Red Wings squad who have not had the start to the season they would have liked. At 8-9-1 and with 17 points on the year, they sit seventh in the Atlantic Division and are four points out of a Wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.
But, as Gulutzan made clear, don't be deceived by their start.
"We know by watching them that they've probably played a lot better than what their record indicates. They've got some real good team speed, they've got good veteran players and it's going to be a tough match tonight."