To win once under Darryl Sutter is a good thing. Anyone who has played for him in his stellar coaching career will tell you that wins are far better than the alternative.
Even so, the Calgary Flames received a key message from their new head coach as they set up the Montreal Canadiens hosts in a rematch on Saturday night: leave it in the past.
Among Sutter’s calling cards is his insistence that the final game is less important than the next, which is a good lesson for the Flames, who are a team of 500 who have struggled to follow wins this season with yet another tough effort .
“With every win there are many,” said Sutter. “They’re all the same. You take it and get ready for the next one.”
The Flames scored full points in their 2-1 win over the Canadiens on Thursday. In that clash, they took two goals ahead and scored a solid win. Calgary controlled the pace with aggressive and intelligent foreplay, capturing visitors with just 18 shots on goal en route to Montreal’s first ever win in the street regulation era.
“It’s very obvious how he wants us to play,” said striker Derek Ryan. “He wants a fast game, structured, and I think you saw that for just under 60 minutes. I thought everyone was confident and 100 percent in what we had to do on each shift on the ice and nobody I have Hesitated or questioned anything. It was a lot of fun to play like that. “
Still, the Flames expect a better team in Montreal on Saturday. The Canadiens showed a strong fight on Thursday despite playing in Vancouver last night. Not only did they switch time zones, but the game against the Canucks was a late start. Fatigue was definitely a factor when they hit the Saddledome Ice.
“The lack of energy led to a lack of execution,” said coach Dominique Ducharme. “We had fewer quick options. We were slow to react. They had more time to put us under pressure. We made mental mistakes because of our energy levels.”
Since Ducharme took over as coach on February 24th, the Canadians have a 3-2-3 record. Thursday was the second time this season that the Canadians had played on consecutive evenings after changing cities – both second games were losses.
“You always have to take something away from every game. … We will learn from it,” said Ducharme. “We’ll react better next time. It’s difficult to compare a game like (Thursday) with our performance on Wednesday. It wasn’t the same conditions. We’ll learn the lessons from tonight in the future.”
“Sometimes it’s just not there,” added striker Jonathan Drouin. “When it’s not there as a team, we have to find these ways to get the little things right and make sure we’re on the same page. It’s not going to be a nice night. We’re going to have nights like this.” when it doesn’t flow the way it should, but we get better at where to find our game when we don’t have it. “
Neither team will be forced to make changes to the roster, but Montreal is expected to become star goalkeeper Carey Price on Saturday after Jake Allen faced the Flames. Price, who played the game in Vancouver on Wednesday, scored one goal in each of his last four games, where he stopped 105 of 109 shots – a sparkling 0.963 percent saving.
– Field level media