No one does it on purpose, especially not in this organization. I’m very proud of our guys. It’s just not a good second and third period. We could come back. - Bob Hartley
TAMPA BAY, FL -- The Calgary Flames were forcing it. The Tampa Bay Lightning were feeling it.
The Flames were forced into too many turnovers and Tampa Bay capitalized to take a 5-2 victory at Amalie Arena on Thursday, their fourth consecutive win while halting Calgary’s run at three straight.
“I think we were forcing things, especially after they got up,” Calgary captain Mark Giordano said. “We were forcing more than we normally do. Give them credit. They’re a good skating team; they take advantage of turnovers. We allowed too many odd-man rushes against. I thought it wasn’t our best game.
“We obviously didn’t like the chances we gave up. We’ll move forward. They played a good game. We didn’t play our best. That was the result.”
After what Calgary coach Bob Hartley called a “great first period” that saw both teams head into the intermission locked at 1-1, the Flames began to falter.
A goal to Cedric Paquette -- his second of the game and second of his career -- just 1:01 into the middle frame put the Lightning up 2-1. Another, this time shorthanded, from Brian Boyle extended the lead to two just three minutes later.
It was the start of Calgary’s stumble.
“It was kind of our type of game and we were right in there but then we gave a goal early in the second, we gave a goal early in the third, we gave a goal on our power play so we made it tough,” Hartley said. “We made it tough against a great hockey club. We kept battling. I’ll give this to our guys but hey, it was not a good night for us.”
Calgary’s struggles were highlighted on Boyle’s goal.
With a power play, Kris Russell skated the puck up to centre ice before attempting to drop it back for a rushing forward, a play Calgary has used heavily with the man advantage this season.
Boyle saw it coming and swooped on the loose puck before going in alone and beating goaltender Jonas Hiller.
“Everyone makes mistakes. No one makes a mistake on purpose,” Hartley said. “Just go and see Kris Russel’s face. He got pushed into the net in the first period and everything. He’s a warrior for us. It’s going to happen to the best of them. It’s water under the bridge.”
Calgary rebounded with Sean Monahan’s fifth of the season just 20 seconds after Boyle’s marker on the same power play but the Flames couldn’t gain traction.
“I felt that the effort was there,” Hartley said. “I don’t think that we looked like a bunch of fat cats out there. It’s not a matter that they outworked us. They outsmarted us because we made some bad mistakes but it’s a game of mistakes.
"No one does it on purpose, especially not in this organization. I’m very proud of our guys. It’s just not a good second and third period. We could come back. We made a push at the end but it wasn’t there.”
Calgary will also have little time to dwell on the loss.
The Flames visit the Florida Panthers in a matinee matchup Saturday before wrapping up the five-game spin away from Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
“[Thursday] we practice,” Hartley declared. “We’re facing the Panthers and we just have to bounce back. This team has shown so much resiliency. We’ll go back to the drawing board. The guys know that we didn’t give ourselves a chance. This morning we were talking about how deep, how fast this team in.
“Their speed caused some problems and some points and probably caused some turnovers on our side but it’s disappointing but it’s one game and we just have to bounce back.”