We’ve had a pretty good road trip. We didn’t get the 'W' tonight, we didn’t play as well as we could’ve but I think we’ve got to take some positives, for sure. - David Jones
RALEIGH, NC -- Not exceptional. Not great. Just okay.
With the possibility of returning home with eight points following a 10-day road trip through the Eastern Conference, coach Bob Hartley summarized the Calgary Flames’ five game spin away from Scotiabank Saddledome with just two letters after Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes -- O.K.
“It’s an okay trip,” started Hartley, whose troops concluded with six points before returning to Calgary.
“There’s the mix of the two. I felt that tonight we got the first goal and you get the first goal on the road game, you did your job. But after this, we just let them come on us. That’s not typically of this hockey club. We’re better than this and we know it. Tomorrow morning is going to be okay but this is a hard one to swallow.”
Calgary opened the scoring courtesy David Jones. Carolina replied with four unanswered tallies to earn their fifth win in the past six games.
The Flames had previously taken six of eight points through the first four games of the road trip, including wins over the Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers.
The Hurricanes, seventh in the Metropolitan Division and 13th in the East and 23rd overall, denied them of their fourth win on the trip.
“They’ve been pretty hot as of late,” said Jones, who was the lone Flames skater to solve Cam Ward to give himself goals in back-to-back games. “They’re really good at moving the puck in the offensive zone there. They’ve got some skill there, some skilled players. We had to play down in their end a little bit more than we did tonight.
“They capitalized on turnovers and that’s what the difference was in the game.”
It also stood as the difference between returning home as a jovial bunch and quietly sulking into the night.
Still, Jones admitted there were plenty of positives the team could draw from the trip.
“Anytime you’re above .500…it would’ve been nice to get this one tonight,” he said. “Four wins, 4-1 on the road is pretty impressive. We’ve had a pretty good road trip. We didn’t get the ‘W’ tonight, we didn’t play as well as we could’ve but I think we’ve got to take some positives, for sure.”
The final stop in Raleigh, NC won’t be one of them, however.
But the excuse of a lengthy trip stand sputtering to an end wont stand either, the coach admitted.
“No, not at all,” Hartley said. “You look at our trip. We didn’t play a back-to-back yesterday. We gave them an optional skate. If someone is tired in this group there’s something wrong.”
No excuses were expected from the players group.
Curtis Glencross wasn’t willing to accept the fatigue as an out either but like Jones, wouldn’t dismiss the positives.
“We can’t think of that. We didn’t play a good enough hockey game,” Glencross said. “We wanted to finish this road trip off on a positive. At the same time, we have to look at it and 3-2 on this road trip. We’ve got to take the positive out of that. When you can be over .500 on a 10-day road trip like this, that’s pretty good.
“Now we’ve got to go home. We’ve got a week and a half at home. We have to go and win some games in our barn.”