There’s no sense trying to find reasons or excuses or anything. Now we’re playing against a very good Nashville Predators team (on Sunday). We need to forget about that one and start focusing on the next one right away. - Bob Hartley
ST. PAUL, MN -- With seven games remaining on the docket, the Calgary Flames are parking a 4-2 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Friday.
With their Stanley Cup Playoff lives set to be determined over the next few weeks, the focus is forward.
“Tonight’s game is over,” said Flames coach Bob Hartley. “It won’t come back. There’s no sense trying to find reasons or excuses or anything. Now we’re playing against a very good Nashville Predators team (on Sunday). We need to forget about that one and start focusing on the next one right away.”
The coach’s mindset matches the players’.
“Obviously we’re going to have to try to shake it off,” Mikael Backlund said. “We’re going to probably do some video tomorrow to learn what we did wrong and learn what we did good and learn from that. After that we’ll move on and focus on Nashville.”
Rookies Josh Jooris and Markus Granlund scored on opposite ends of Minnesota’s four-goal run, including three in an eight-minute span in the third period, and Karri Ramo made 31 saves in the loss.
Leaving Minnesota without a point, the Flames remain one back of the Los Angeles Kings for third in the Pacific Division and three back of the Vancouver Canucks for second. Both the Canucks and Kings hold a game at hand over Calgary.
The Winnipeg Jets, who hold the second wild card entry into the playoffs from the Western Conference, remain three points up on the Flames. Both teams have seven games remaining in their regular season schedule.
The message from Hartley is simple.
“Keep fighting,” he said. “I told them (Friday) morning, getting two points in October, November, December, it’s never easy, but getting tow points at this time of year considering all the races going on in the Western Conference, we need to find another gear. I know we’ve got so much out of those guys but with seven games to go we need to keep doing it, even at a bigger pace.”
That place? The playoffs.
But after Friday’s loss, Calgary remains on the wrong side of the cut line.
There’s just seven skates remaining, but Hartley is confident in his group.
“Because we’re a great bunch of guys,” he said. “I have no doubt on those guys. They want to go. I can never fault the effort. The commitment is there. They want to do good. That’s the way we’ve been all year. There’s no doubt in my mind we will not change with seven games to go.”