For two teams coming off defeats, both the Flames and the Philadelphia Flyers are oddly feeling fine about themselves heading into their meeting Tuesday night in Calgary.
The Flyers, who dropped a 3-2 shootout affair in Vancouver on Saturday, arrive in the Stampede City unbeaten in regulation through three games in the young season.
“In my estimation, there were a lot of things to like about this game,” Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault said after the game against the Canucks. “I thought we came out well, and then we lost the momentum a little bit in the mid-first period. (There were) a couple of puck battles that we lost.
“In the second period, even though we didn’t get a lot of shots on net, I liked our puck-possession time. I liked some of the opportunities in the third. We pushed the pace.”
Philadelphia opened the season in Prague, returned to North America to play one home game, and then headed out to Western Canada for a three-game trip which concludes Wednesday at the Edmonton Oilers. Despite a tough schedule to start the season, the Flyers’ lone blemish came on a night they twice erased a one-goal deficit and dominated the third period.
“The point feels good,” forward Oskar Lindblom told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “One point is better than zero.”
“After the second, we were a little frustrated with how we were playing,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux added. “We knew we can play better. We were down 2-1, but there was no panic. We kept to the game plan.”
The Flyers are looking for a boost soon, too. Nolan Patrick is not likely to play on this trip, but the 2017 second overall draft choice, who has posted 30- and 31-point seasons in his first two NHL campaigns, is skating with the team. Patrick hasn’t yet played this season due to migraines.
“It’s improving and I’m getting better,” he told reporters. “Obviously it’s nice being back. The guys were gone for a while in Prague and you’re by yourself and you feel detached from the team, so whenever I can be around when I’m injured, it’s nice to feel like a part of the team again.”
The Flames are returning home after a pair of defeats during a three-game road swing, first falling to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday and then the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. Still, they believe the 3-1 defeat in Northern California is a sign their game is coming around.
Coach Bill Peters questioned his team’s work ethic after the loss in Sin City but was legitimately happier following the loss to the Sharks.
“Much better effort,” Peters said. “I thought the (Mikael) Backlund (which also included Michael Frolik and Matthew Tkachuk) line was dangerous, had lots of good looks. So, some things we can build off, for sure.”
The Flames controlled play for the bulk of the Sunday game but fell behind on an unlucky bounce and then paid the price for a couple of defensive breakdowns in an otherwise solid performance.
“Overall, 60 minutes — we want to win obviously — I think we were the better team,” Backlund said. “We just didn’t score. We had the chances. And there are going to be nights like that. It’s not like we are happy with it — we lost still, and it’s tough — but I thought it was a well-played game by us.”
–Field Level Media