Not 'good enough': Huska explains decision not to pull the goalie vs. Ducks

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Ryan Huska just didn’t think it was worth the risk.

The Calgary Flames were down two goals to the Anaheim Ducks late in the third period on Tuesday night, and that’s generally a scenario where we’ve seen Huska pull his goaltender.

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But on Tuesday night, the Flames head coach opted to leave Jacob Markstrom between the pipes and the score stayed 5-3 until the final buzzer sounded.

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“I didn’t think we were at the point with the way we played where we deserved to have the goalie pulled,” Huska explained on Wednesday morning. “I look at it as ‘Would we end up 6-3?’

“I’m not saying we’re not going to come back to win a game but I didn’t have the impression from my team last night that we were good enough.”

If anyone’s trying to manufacture any controversy about Huska’s decision, they should give their head a shake. The Flames were profoundly disappointed in their performance against the lowly Ducks on Tuesday night.

Markstrom said he couldn’t blame the fans who left the Saddledome early. MacKenzie Weegar called the performance “weird.” Nobody was happy.

Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom battles Anaheim Ducks Brett Leason in the first period NHL. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

And nobody watching the game could reasonably have fooled themselves into thinking it was a night where the Flames were going to come storming back. They didn’t look like they were up for the fight.

“It’s at the moment, you have your decisions you have to make at certain times,” Huska said. “Whether it’s right or wrong, it’s the one I felt was right at the time.”

HOPING TO GET HIM BACK IN

One guy who Flames fans haven’t seen in a while is Dennis Gilbert.

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The hard-as-nails defenceman featured regularly through the first couple months of the season but has only played twice since the all-star break and hasn’t made an in-game appearance since March 7.

That can’t be easy for a guy who had set a career-high in games played this season, skating 31 times before the end of January.

The Flames would like to get him some ice time in their final eight games, though.

“It’s been a tough stretch for him and I think he’s handled it really well,” Huska said. “He’s come to work every day and he’s worked hard on the ice. We brought in some new defencemen at the deadline and he’s the one who suffered from that, but he continues to do what we ask him to do on the ice at practice, so yeah, it would be nice to get him in.”

Flames defenceman Joel Hanley pictured during warmup prior to last night’s game.
Flames defenceman Joel Hanley pictured during warmup prior to last night’s game.  Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

STAYING AT HOME

Joel Hanley won’t be playing for the Flames against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.

The Flames defenceman left Tuesday’s game early in the first period and did not return.

Huska said Hanley would be listed as day-to-day and shouldn’t be out long, but he wouldn’t be available for the next game.

Andrew Mangiapane’s availability is also up in the air. He participated in Wednesday’s practice but Huska wasn’t sure if he’d play against the Jets. Mangiapane has been out of action with an undisclosed injury since the Flames’ March 26 game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

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