Calgary – No food, no drink, no emotion, no execution, no chance.
Playing their first game at home in more than a month, the Calgary Flames produced a similar performance against the Ottawa Senators in a similar, repeatedly put together weak effort in last year’s bubble.
The only difference was that this time he did not embarrass himself in the empty arena.
Limited to 50 percent capacity by provincial health regulations, the Saddledome hosted 9,639 masked diehards who were prohibited from buying or consuming any food or drink.
In the middle of a barren, boarded up concourse were two large Gatorade coolers of water with small paper cups provided to help fans wash off what could have been the team’s worst outing of the season.
The only two things interesting about the game included a Milan Lusick fight with Scott Saborin who attempted to bring back the crowd and his team, and a spirited exchange between Matthew Tkachuk and brother Brady.
The latter came with five minutes remaining, when the older-but-younger brother knocked Matthew down after a whistle in front of an Ottawa net, prompting Takachuk to reach up above the ice to forcefully hit Brady in the thigh. .
There was no exchange of words.
They will come later from their mother.
You can bet the Flames will get a lot of tongue out from Darryl Sutter, whose club hasn’t begun to prove he will be able to turn his fortunes into a rink in which the team is now 4-4-4.
“Just disappointing, our game lacked energy and spirit,” Sutter said after losing 4-1 to an Ottawa team that had played just one game since Christmas.
“I think the emotional level of our group has been lacking for some time now.
I think Loch recognized it and tried to catch it tonight.
He was one of the only flames to play his part to draw the sparsely populated crowd into proceedings, when the team dropped the opening goal at 1:43 in the evening.
The barely bounced back team vowed to rest for five days and prepare for one of the league’s lower feeders.
“It’s not a knock on the goalscorer or anyone, but you never want to start a game when the other team scores a goal on the first shot,” said Lusik, who came up with the flames in the bout at Saborin. was dominating. 2-0.
“It leaves four goals. A game doesn’t work for us or anyone. When you’re losing in battles and little things like that, that’s when the frustration starts and the game takes away from you.
“We didn’t have that in the first 28 matches before we got hit by Covid, so we’ll have to do little things again.”
On both goals from Nick Paul in the first period, Flame did things like divert the puck on his blue line.
The crowd and the team seemed out of it at the time, as a poor first period was followed by an even worse attempt in the second when the Flames went out 13–6 and went down 3–0 when Drake Batherson scored. One short side was placed on the roof. Jacob Markstrom who hugged everyone except for a part of the post.
Matthew Tkachuk offered a glimmer of hope at 47 seconds into the third when he redirected a Chris Tanev point shot behind Matt Murray.
However, a Connor Brown breakaway conversion minutes later resulted in an exclamation mark for the team’s fourth-straight loss and eighth in their final ten.
“It’s definitely not what we want it to be now,” said Takachuk, whose club is now one point out of the wild card spot.
“Thank god we started what we did to still keep us in it. No panic by any stretch, but we want to fix it, and we only have before the All-Star Game.” There are eight left, so we’d love to find out soon enough so we can roll a little bit before that All-Star break.”
Things won’t be much easier for the bunch as their next game will be on Tuesday against the first-placed Florida Panthers, who recently schooled the Flames at the Sunrisers.
“The big thing is I would like our team to get into some sort of rhythm,” said Sutter, whose club has four days off before playing again.
“I don’t think it’s frustrating enough when they lose. There’s not enough emotion in our game right now.”
The fact that Sam Bennett is returning to the Dome to face his old club for the first time after being traded by the Flames should add some juice.
Regarding the team’s emotional connection, Lucic said, “It seems that since we have been back in these six games (since the Christmas/Covid holiday), it hasn’t been consistent enough.”
“It’s something we have to rediscover. It’s up to us as a group to find it together.”
“We’ll come out with emotion in the next game. I don’t doubt it,” promised Takachuk.