Calgary Flames coach Darryl Sutter is known for being a taskmaster — and often acerbic.
As his team prepares to play host to the St. Louis Blues, though, Sutter is preaching from the other side of the pendulum while his team tries to snap a four-game winless slide.
The Flames, who are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, have lost their last three games in extra time. However, Sutter is quick to point out his squad is 3-1-3 in its last seven outings and could just as easily be riding a winning spree driving them up the standings.
“The difference is the difference maker, right?” Sutter said. “You get to the extra or late opportunities, whether it’s a power play or overtime or shootouts. … That’s where your best players have to be difference makers, for sure.”
Certainly goal scoring has been an issue for the Flames during their recent struggles. Calgary has managed nine goals in its last four games.
“It’s a long year, and I think it’s just important to keep those emotions balanced,” center Nazem Kadri said. “We like some of the things we do out there, but ultimately you’d like to finish the job. Those bounces are going to bounce in our favor eventually.
“You just have to keep your chin up. It’s a long season and getting down on yourself or thinking you’re better than you are, both sides of the spectrum can be dangerous. With some experience, you learn that. And I think we have the right attitude in here.”
The Blues arrive in the Stampede City on the heels of a wild 4-3 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. The Blues scored twice in the third period, including Vladimir Tarasenko’s game-tying tally with 20 seconds remaining. The Oilers even had an overtime goal disallowed because of an offside call before Jordan Kyrou scored the lone shootout goal to cap a night in which he netted one goal and two assists.
“It’s one of those wins we’ll remember moving forward,” goaltender Jordan Bennington said.
Certainly, it was memorable right from the start. The Blues were penalized for starting a wrong player, with Brayden Schenn listed as a starter but Brandon Saad instead on the ice at puck drop. The Oilers scored on the ensuing power play.
“Weird stuff was happening all game long,” Kyrou said. “You’ve just got to stay with it and keep battling.”
Sure, it was a weird game for the Blues — who have won two straight, both in extra time. But that can be said of the whole season. St. Louis started the season with three victories before sputtering through an eight-game losing skid. A seven-game winning streak followed before a 2-7-1 stretch dropped the Blues to 12-15-1 before winning their last two games.
A couple of wins is a boost for a Blues team that has won six of the last seven meetings with the Flames.
“We need to keep doing this consistently, our checking and our work ethic,” Kyrou said. “As long as we continue to do that, we’re going to start winning more games here.”
–Field Level Media