We know we can compete with these teams, so I don't know if there's much of a positive tonight after a loss. - Sean Monahan
CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames know they can compete with the best the National Hockey League has to offer, so close no longer cuts it.
It doesn’t make falling 4-3 to the Chicago Blackhawks in a back-and-forth affair at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday any easier to take.
“We know we can compete with these teams, so I don't know if there's much of a positive tonight after a loss,” said Sean Monahan, who scored his eighth goal of the season midway through the second period. “We just have to find ways to win. We know we're up there with those teams and we have a solid group right now and we're rolling, so we're not happy about the loss.”
The Flames took a come-from-behind shootout victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, erasing a two-goal third period deficit en route to capturing two points.
They weren’t able to do the same against the Blackhawks, though.
“I think we competed hard,” Monahan said. “I don't think anyone can complain about the effort we gave, but I think on home ice, we still have to find ways to win. I think, as a group, we're not too happy about the loss.
“Obviously, we made a few mistakes, myself included. We know those are fixable mistakes. The effort was there but those are the little things we have to clean up on.”
Trailing 2-0 just 7:12 into the contest, Calgary rallied with two of their own before the period let out thanks to goals from Paul Byron and Dennis Wideman. Falling behind 3-2 in the second, Monahan pulled the Flames even again after 40 minutes.
Patrick Kane’s goal in the third on a Flames miscue stood as his second game-winner in as many contests after the Flames couldn’t mount another third period comeback.
“It's a 3-3- hockey game and just a simple breakout miscommunication and the next thing you know, the puck is in the back of the net,” Byron said. “But that's going to happen all year. It's going to happen for us, it's going to happen against us. That's just the way it goes.
“I think everyone in this room knows we can compete. It's just a matter of playing a full 60-minute game. We definitely saw it for the last 50 minutes of the game tonight.”
It’s up to the Flames to bounce back to avoid losing back-to-back games for just the second time this season. In fact, Calgary is 7-0-1 when coming off a defeat this season.
The challenge now, is to bump that win total to eight, coach Bob Hartley said.
“It's not only about to identify our mistakes, it's about to make sure that we're all very well aware of the expectations, that we don't want to lose two games in a row,” Hartley said. “We're in a position to respond.
“We've been responding very well since the start, but at the same time, it's always a different challenge, a new challenge.”