The Calgary Flames go from one end of the NHL spectrum to the other in just 48 hours.
The Flames hung tough against the league’s premier team this season, Boston, in a 4-3 home loss on Friday. They now travel to Detroit to face the Red Wings, the league’s bottom feeder, on Sunday.
Calgary gave away a pair of two-goal leads to the Bruins to continue a win-one, lose-one rut the Flames have fallen into the past two weeks. They have only been able to pair up victories once since early January, when they reeled off five straight wins.
“They’re a good team for a reason,” Flames coach Geoff Ward said of Boston. “They go to the net and they get rewarded for going to the net. We have to be a little more diligent of what’s going on.”
Mikael Backlund had a pair of first-period goals but the Flames failed to score in the final two periods.
“They weren’t giving us anything,” forward Matthew Tkachuk told NHL.com. “The couple chances we had, we scored on. There’s no way they were giving up a ton (Friday). The way they play, their depth. … They’ve got four lines that can wear you down. Their D move the puck very well and they defend very, very well.”
The game in Detroit begins a five-game road trip. They’ll make a stop in Boston on the second leg of the journey.
“The things you can learn from a team like that, they’re responsible, they don’t give up much, they make you earn everything and that’s what makes them such a good team,” forward Milan Lucic said to NHL.com. “We play them again on Tuesday night, so we know what to expect.”
The Flames haven’t seen the Red Wings since mid-October, when five different players scored as Calgary pulled away to a 5-1 home victory. The Flames scored three third-period goals.
Detroit fell below .500 for the first time that night and have continued to spiral downward. The Wings are 29 games under .500 and have lost five of their last six games.
They have generated a single goal in four of those defeats, including a 4-1 road loss to the New York Islanders on Friday.
The Wings trailed 1-0 after the first period, when they only had two shots on goal.
“I think the first period wasn’t enough from us. Myself and my line especially,” first-line center Dylan Larkin said to NHL.com. “We’re put out there to generate offense and take care of the puck and manage it and we didn’t do that especially. We didn’t bring enough energy to spark the team.”
The Wings became the first team officially eliminated from playoff contention with 19 games remaining.
“What stings to me, though, is the fact we didn’t have enough guys showing up in the first period. That stings for me,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “The elimination from the playoffs is what it is.
“My focus for a long time here, really since the beginning of the year, is to make sure that we’re pushing to be better. That there’s a better future,” Blashill added. “Part of having a better future is understanding what it takes every single night. We’ve got to be better than we were to start the game.”
–Field Level Media