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Flames had their chances in strong showing but weren't able to bury them

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

When the chance is there to cut off the oxygen, better take it.


Or be buried.

"We had a lot of chances in the first period, should have got one or two," agreed Elias Lindholm wistfully late Saturday afternoon, in the wake of a streak-busting 4-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

"Their goalie was good.

"Then in the second they responded well and took over. We were on our heels a little bit.

"And then the third, a lot of powerplay. Tight game. Could've gone either way.

"Today wasn't our turn."

Been awhile since it hasn't. Tracking all the way back to Nov. 23, in Pittsburgh and a 3-2 overtime loss.

Since then, the Flames had run off seven Ws on the trot.

And it very could've been eight and gaining further steam had they taken advantage of a dominating first period, hemming in the 'Canes and forcing goalie James Reimer to a series of five-bell saves.

Somehow, though, lashed to the mast as the typhoon raged all around them, Carolina survived intact, at 0-0.


Video: "Tight game - could have gone either way"

In the second, a complete flip flop. All of a sudden, out of the mists, the 'Canes were the ones bossing the game.

Controversy arose on Carolina's first goal, though, scored at 12:34 of the second and slotted home by left-winger Brock McGinn off a nifty feed from Jordan Martinook.

The play was razor close to offside the blueline. The Flames challenged, unsuccessfully, the ruling following video review being that McGinn successfully tagged up prior to Julien Gauthier entering the zone and touching the puck.

"The right call, 100 percent,'' Flames' coach Geoff Ward acknowledged afterwards. "We just felt maybe the guy hadn't tagged up. We looked at it, the overhead seemed to look like that.

"But when we took a look at it after, it was the correct call."

A minute and five seconds after the deflating war-room ruling, ex-Flame Dougie Hamilton's powerplay shot bounced off David Rittich's catching glove and looping into the net, vaulting Carolina ahead a deuce.

"Obviously, it was tough,'' said Lindholm. "We all thought it was offside. Then we get a penalty and they scored again.

"We had a good talk between periods, talked about calming down a little bit and regroup. But obviously it was tough to go down that way."


Video: "Reimer was real good tonight"


Ward refused to use any emotional swing on the lost challenge as an excuse for the second goal allowed.

"Sure you talk about it but it shouldn't cause us to sag,'' he said. "If anything, if the call doesn't go the way you want, you should bump up, generate some energy, make sure your next couple of shifts are good and grab some energy."

The Flames attempted a fightback in the third but came up empty on a series of powerplay chances, a shorthanded goal by Warren Foegele, retrieving his own shot blocked by Calgary skipper Mark Giordano to beat Rittich, at 15:05, sealing the deal.

"I thought we had good looks again in the third,'' sighed Giordano, "we had another push but definitely in the first period I thought we were the better team and they were in the second.

"There were sort of a lot of penalties in the third. Like I said, we got some looks but you'd love to get one on the powerplay there to get your building going."


Video: "They're a good team ... gotta give 'em credit"


The task is now to begin another streak Tuesday when the Penguins pay a visit.

"Any time you can put a streak together like we have … we're 8-1-1 in our last 10 games, and if you look at our schedule it wasn't easy,'' reminded Giordano. "We played some pretty good opponents on the road, at home.

"Today was one of those games where the team that scored first was going to have a real good advtange and that was the case."

Onward and upward, agreed Ward.

"All in all, when we take a look at it, the teams we played, our fourth game in six days, with travel - we'll take that in any stretch of the schedule.

"We'll just put this one behind us, have a good practice Monday and get ready for Tuesday."

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