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Flames fall to Bruins in final tilt of two-game O.R.G. China series

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

BEIJING - The work, said Bill Peters, continues.

"A little bit of a slow start by us,'' analyzed the Flames coach. "I thought we got better once we spent a little time in the offensive zone, a little hungrier and harder on pucks.

"We practiced hard and long yesterday. I thought it was more important than getting ready for the game, in essence.

"We got some work done, we look at two games and we know we have lots of work left to do.

"We've got to dig in when we get home."

A 1-1 third-period tie was broken when Flames' goaltender Mike Smith, making his debut here, attempted to play the puck at the side of his net but Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson was able to one-arm a pass out to Jake DeBrusk.

DeBrusk, quickly becoming a Flame nemesis, counted his second of the night and that goal held up as the game winner in a 3-1 Boston victory over the Flames at Cadillac Arena in a game that started at 5:30 a.m. Calgary time Wednesday morning.

The two-stop O.R.G. China NHL Games set had opened with a 4-3 Bruins shootout victory in Shenzhen on Saturday.

Mr. DeBrusk, remember, counted the SO winner that afternoon, too.

"Going into the third period, with the team we have now, at 1-1 we should be able to come out with two points,'' said centre Sean Monahan. "Right now we need to work on some things. Special teams is one of them.

"Obviously there's a lot of new faces. But we've got to get back to Calgary and work on those things we didn't execute here in China."

Referencing Monahan's concerns, the Flames had a splendid opportunity to equalize over the final 5:47, the Bruins slapped with back-to-back minors - John Moore for hooking and Kevan Miller for cross-checking - but the powerplay couldn't make good.

Miller, piling on, then hit an empty Calgary net from long-distance at 18:45 to put the outcome to bed.

The Flames began to find absent offensive rhythm and increase their zone time as the second period ground along.

Sandpapery Garnet Hathaway, once again, set a molar-loosening tone by absolutely wallpapering Bruin blueliner Jakob Zboril into the corner boards to the left to the Boston net.

That wallop served to ignite his teammates.

In short order, Rask was forced to flag down a rising Sam Bennett try, then the Bruins goaltender made a superb right shoulder save fighting off a nimble T.J. Brodie joining-the-rush deflection before James Neal, sailing in untouched straight through the slot, narrowly missed picking the far side.

The tying strike arrived on completion of a Calgary penalty. Monahan popped out of the box and gratefully accept Mark Jankowski's outlet pass over the centre line and bore in to solve Rask.

The timing, 2.8 seconds remaining in the middle stanza, could not have been more felicitous.

The Flames outshot the Bruins 12-5 through the period.

Earlier in the first, Smith had produced a series of sharp stops - at the expense of nefarious Brad Marchand in the slot dead centre,and Jack Studinka and Ryan Donato loitering on the doorstep - before the B's finally broke through.

Donato, a crafty fellow, had coaxed both Calgary D-men, Travis Hamonic and Noah Hanifin, over his way before slipping a diagonal pass to DeBrusk.

DeBrusk then picked his spot and snapped the puck high, short-side on Smith.

Drawing into the Calgary line-up after being Game 1 scratches were defencemen Rasmus Andersson and Dalton Prout, along with forwards Curtis Lazar, Anthony Peluso and Morgan Klimchuk. Brett Kulak, Michael Stone, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik and Matthew Tkachuk received the evening off.

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