A day after dropping a 3-2 overtime decision to the San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley was happy to get a point, but not exactly satisfied with his club’s performance.
The Flames were outshot 35-13 by the Sharks in the contest -- including 28-6 after 40 minutes -- but managed to escape the game with a point.
“It’s over,” Hartley said. “You can only learn from this. We’re a proud bunch of guys. We know exactly what happened. Elvis is dead and The Beatles split. We need to move on.”
The Flames will have little opportunity to dwell on what worked and what didn’t against San Jose. The team is preparing to welcome the Dallas Stars to Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.
And that suits Hartley just fine.
“That’s the beauty of the NHL, 82-game schedule,” he said. “You can’t sleep on good performances or bad performances too long. We have a new partner the next day and tomorrow we have Dallas, a team that is playing very well. There’s no easy opponent in this conference.”
The Flames allowed a goal off the stick of Logan Couture just 1:32 into the game against the Sharks. They’ll look for a quicker start against the Stars on Thursday.
“I think that we had some great starts but in the past five, six games, I can’t recall even being in the lead,” Hartley said. “It’s a different game. It becomes a mental game for any team. You look at records of teams leading after the first, leading after the second.
“It seems to go from a physical game to a mental game. Teams are getting a little bit more conservative or teams are opening up and suddenly there’s 2-on-1’s, 3-on-1’s. I think it’s a mindset.”
Calgary has opened the scoring just once in the past seven contests, a 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
The Flames, Hartley admitted, have to find a way to be more ready when the puck drops.
“We have to come back to square one,” he said. “We’ve done it before. We know it’s there. It’s just up to us to find it again.”
Down 2-0 in the third period against the Sharks, the Flames’ power play clicked, ending an 0-for-30 skid to ignite Calgary’s comeback.
Sean Monahan won a draw against Joe Thornton back to Kris Russell at the point. The Flames defenceman shook off the Sharks pivot before firing a point shot over the glove of San Jose goaltender Alex Stalock at 6:51.
It snapped a nine-game drought with the man-advantage.
“That’s Russ, very deceiving with the puck,” Hartley said. “Just a little head fake and bang, he was in the middle. We had a great screen. It’s good. It gives us a power play goal and it put us back in the game. That goal had many positives.”
The first positive came in the faceoff circle with Monahan’s win.
“It was pretty clean,” Monahan said. “I just got my stick over his and got it back quick.”
Next was Russell’s fake and subsequent goal.
“I saw Thornton kind of cheating so I took it to the middle,” Russell said. “I just wanted to get a hard, high shot on net. I think he thought I was going to try to throw it back down.”
The result equaled into a confidence boost for Hartley’s special teams unit.
“You look at the power play that we had right after,” he said. “We didn’t score but you could tell the confidence was back and the puck was moving. We had pucks in the crease and around the net. We couldn’t find it, but still we made some great plays.”
The Flames reassigned Max Reinhart to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. He played two games with the Flames during his recall, averaging 11:04 of ice time and was a plus-1.
Hartley sent him back to Abbotsford on a positive note.
“We were very happy with him,” he said. “We’re caught in a numbers game and sometimes that’s the unfortunate part but at the same time, great attitude, played real good in his games so I’m sure we’re going to see him again.”
The Flames also activated Christopher Breen off the injured reserve list. He had been sidelined since October 24th with an abdominal wall strain.
“No team can dominate for a full 60 minutes. The beauty of this game, there’s lots of momentum swings. (A) big body check, a timeout, a goalie change, a big save, a fight, a goal, there’s so many times. You look at our team in the first period; you look at our team in the third period. Wow, what a difference. That’s the beauty of this game. Sometimes it’s funny what happens. A TV timeout or a timeout, the game totally changes around and why? Gosh, if we would know, every coach would fix it.”
The Flames welcome the Dallas Stars to Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday (7 p.m. MT, SNET-Flames), the second of a three-game home stand. Calgary will also host the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday (8 p.m. MT, CBC).