Flames’ latest shootout loss reveals scary stat

Article content

The Calgary Flames need another Yegor Sharangovich.

Or maybe two.

Article content

Not just because Sharangovich was an offensive standout again Thursday in Minnesota, where he extended his goal-scoring spree to four straight games, added an assist and grazed the post on another golden opportunity.

Because ‘Sharky,’ as teammates have been calling him, remains the only Flames player to score in a shootout this season.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Yeah, really.

Sharangovich is 3-for-4. His pals are a combined 0-for-12.

Oof.

The Flames wound up on the wrong side of the skills competition Thursday at Xcel Energy Centre, wrapping a winless road-trip with a 3-2 shootout setback to the host Minnesota Wild. They lost every which way on this three-game getaway — in regulation in Colorado, in overtime in Vegas and on breakaways in St. Paul.

“I thought we were the better team and we deserved those two points,” groaned Flames netminder Dan Vladar after a 30-save showing. “The shootout, it’s like a lottery right?”

In that case, the Flames won’t be a factor in Friday’s Lotto Max draw. They shouldn’t bother buying tickets.

At 0-4, they have been the NHL’s worst shootout squad so far this season. Even after Vladar’s holy-smokes scorpion save on Frederick Gaudreau, they couldn’t buck that trend Thursday.

Sharangovich hit lead-off and scored on a glove-side sizzler, but then Elias Lindholm fired high of the net and both Jonathan Huberdeau — with an opportunity to erase the sting of an awful giveaway that gifted the Wild their opening goal — and Nazem Kadri were stopped by Filip Gustavsson.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

Matt Boldy’s top-shelf snipe in the fourth round was ultimately the difference.

“That’s a tough one, to lose in a shootout,” said Flames captain Mikael Backlund during a post-game interview on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. “We really needed this game to close out the trip.”

In that case, they really another breakaway ace.

Because here’s the thing about the shootout — one goal typically isn’t going to get it done.

While Sharangovich has been dynamite when it gets down to dangles, Huberdeau has been skunked on four attempts this season, Kadri has failed on three and rookie Connor Zary has been twice turned away. Lindholm, Rasmus Andersson and Dillon Dube are each 0-for-1.

That’s why Sharangovich, despite polishing off a sweet feed from Lindholm for his fifth goal in a four-game span, was left trying to shoulder some of the blame for Thursday’s bummer, referring to a couple of near-misses as he told reporters at Xcel Energy Center: “I should score on these chances.” The red-hot winger is now tops on the team with 10 tallies this season, so point your finger elsewhere.

That’s why Vladar, despite a terrific save of Ryan Hartman near the end of regulation and that jaw-dropper on Gaudreau during the one-on-one showdowns, wasn’t rewarded with a victory. With just one win to show for his past five starts, he vowed to Flames TV: “I just have to stay with it, just keep doing the same things, and hopefully the results are going to come for me.”

Advertisement 4

Article content

That’s why, despite winning the special-teams battle with a man-advantage marker by Sharangovich and a shortie from Blake Coleman, the Flames left Minnesota with half the points they were hoping for.

They have dropped four in a row, with an 0-2-2 record over that span, as they head home for Saturday’s tilt with the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Saddledome (8 p.m. MT, Sportsnet West/Sportsnet 960 The Fan).

“This was a good game, probably for both sides, I would say,” said Flames coach Ryan Huska in his post-game presser in Minnesota. “I thought we had a slow first 10 minutes, but then I really liked our game from that point forward. I felt like we deserved the extra point tonight.”

“Another game that could have gone either way,” Coleman echoed. “We knew it was going to be one of those 2-1 or 1-0, low-scoring, tight-checking road games. And that’s what it was.

“Win that shootout and we’re all feeling a little different right now.”

[email protected]

Article content