March 20, 2023

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It was an 80s night at the Saddledome.

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This may be the only arena in the NHL where fans miss the era when matches could end in a draw.

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Three-on-three overtime wasn’t kind to the 2022–23 Calgary Flames, and it proved to be another example, with Dallas Stars sharpshooter Jason Robertson tearing the winner apart with just 12.3 ticks left in the sudden death session to finish off. 6-5 humdinger.

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The Flames scored 15 underdogs. This is not the category in which you hope to become the leader of the league.

“Fighting until the last minute before OT, it all comes down to one prank,” Flames blue liner Mackenzie Vigar said after an interesting romance. “And we should start making this play.”

Now with four points left in the final Western Conference wildcard, they fear they will look back on that pile of single points and wonder if their overtime worthlessness was worth the eventual playoff invitation.

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The Flames are 6-15 when the game goes over 60 minutes. That’s a terrible 0.286 win rate.

No complaints about Saturday’s Saddledome selection, but maybe they should have saved Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ for a short break before an extra period?

“Obviously if you had a different record and won more, you would have more confidence in front of OT,” said Flames backup captain Elias Lindholm, understandably in a pitiful mood after this latest bonus-time bummer. “Obviously we are trying, but right now we can’t find a way to win at OT. If I had an answer, I would definitely change something.”

Speaking of which, the Flames must have wished they could jump in a time machine and re-perform the first couple of minutes of this 80s ode. After 1:58 of the game, the Stars had already hit a pair.

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And, of course, DeLorean would be handy to try the ending again. In what started as a random outburst, Robertson passed Rasmus Andersson and covered him with a backhand. The NHL revisited this game to double-check if the goaltender interfered when Radek Faxa broke the crease and a flustered Jacob Markstrom broke his stick coming off the ice.

“Cool,” Andersson groaned. “You give Robertson an inch and he takes it and scores. Tough game. Yes, it sucks.

“We had views. I hit a pole. Bax (Mikael Backlund) had an almost back door. So we have the look, we just don’t put it into the game. It’s obviously frustrating that we’ve lost 15 games in overtime.”

Andersson and Vigar, who are currently partners in the Flames’ best defensive duo, have combined six points against the top stars in the Central Division. Both scored, both made a couple of assists.

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Lindholm, Blake Coleman and Nick Ritchie lit lanterns for the locals.

Robertson’s overtime winner was his second shot of the evening, while Joe Pavelski, Radek Faxa, Wyatt Johnston and Jani Hakanpaa also pulled the Big D boys’ splits.

Left home only to wash their underpants, the Flames head south again for a game in Southern California — Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings and then Tuesday’s clash with the Anaheim Ducks.

“We’re the big boys here – we’re doing a good job of staying positive and keeping our confidence high,” Vigar said in the post-match bout. “What are we going to do? Fixate on it and let it crush us? No… We have to keep going this way.

“I feel like I say this every time I talk to you guys, but we have to score as many points as possible,” Andersson repeated. “Today we got one and we have a big trip ahead of us where we need to score four points.”

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Flames coach Darryl Sutter gave this post-match assessment: “Everyone justified their money, that’s for sure” … Saturday’s match between the Winnipeg Jets and the Nashville Predators turned into a three-pointer – the worst-case scenario for the team from Calgary. The Jets took the overtime victory and are now four points ahead of the Flames in the race for the final wildcard. They both have a dozen dates left. The Predators are five points behind the Winnipeggers with three games to spare… Andersson made a superb pass on Richie’s jump in the breakaway, and the acquisition ended on time with a deft move to his backhand… Thanks to Vigar’s score in the second period, a lucky fan won a free a trip to Las Vegas as part of the Minute to Win competition. He was already wearing the #52 Blasty jersey, and this certainly should have solidified Vigar’s status as his favorite player. “Good karma,” Vigar chuckled during an internal interview during the second intermission. “I hope he wins a lot of money in Vegas”… In a seven-game playoff series in 2022, the Flames and Stars scored 29 goals. There were 31 in three regular-season games this winter. The lunatics… The Flames beat hardcore veteran Milan Lucic and rookie winger Jacob Pelletier. It looks like Lucic, 34, the most experienced dude on the list, could spend the rest of the season in a platoon with fellow left winger Ritchie. “It would be difficult for Nick and Luch to be at the same time,” Sutter said. “They can only play in one position. They both need to keep working, right?

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Sutter’s message to his group? “Stay in the moment, boys. Everyone is trying to push you away — stay there.”…Pavelski scored three points on Saturday, raising his career total against the Flames to 59. Among the active skaters, only Paul Stastny had more offensive success against the Calgary…Lindholm scored 20 goals. for the fourth time in his career. That would have been five in a row – all on behalf of the Flames – but he was sitting at 19 when the 2019-2020 campaign was halted due to COVID-19… After the morning’s run, they asked about Tyler Toffoli, who had already announced a new career. With a high score, Sutter reported an interesting fact. He revealed that the sharp right winger was injured last spring, which could explain why his playoff record was so poor. “Tai is a good pro – he can play anywhere, play a lot. He’s a guy I trust in a lot of situations,” Sutter said. – Touch the tree, this year it has remained healthy. Last year he hurt late and hurt in the playoffs, so he didn’t get everything he wanted.”


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