Flames’ players hopeful to the end

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:56 AM ET

CALGARY — Hockey fans supposedly love the shootout.

Hockey players, at least the ones watching a shootout in the Calgary Flames locker-room Tuesday night, sure didn’t like seeing it.

After losing 2-1 to the San Jose Sharks at the Saddledome, the Flames retreated to the confines of the dressing room to see what happened with the eighth-place Colorado Avalanche.

Although the Vancouver Canucks mounted a comeback and pushed the game to overtime, Matt Duchene scored in the third round of the shootout to give the Avs a 4-3 victory.

That ended the Flames dim playoff hopes, and the players came out to address the media nearly sick to their stomachs.

“It’s a tough feeling,” said blueliner Mark Giordano. “We watched the end of that game … At the start of the season, we had high hopes and this is pretty disappointing tonight. There isn’t much else to say.”

The Flames didn’t do themselves any favours, needing to win their final three games to give themselves a chance.

Even after the Avs picked up a point by going to overtime, there was still hope.

Three points could have been overcome had the Flames beat the Minnesota Wild Thursday and Vancouver Saturday, provided the Avs lost their final three games.

“You shouldn’t leave it up to anyone else,” said Flames centre Matt Stajan. “You have to take care of your own business.

“When you are depending on other teams to beat a team you are chasing, it’s not very fun. It’s mentally draining.

“It’s tough on yourself and that was the situation we were put in. If we won more games earlier, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

The Flames have the eighth-best road record in the NHL, but have failed to have success on Saddledome ice.

With a 20-17-3 mark in Calgary, the Flames are 22nd for home records. Only the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers had worse records than the Flames and still contended for the playoffs.

So it was fitting their season basically ended at home.

“Every night you try to play the same way, whether it’s at home or on the road,” Giordano said. “For some reason, we didn’t have the home record we would have liked to have.

“Certain nights we didn’t have the intensity and emotion wasn’t there. On a game like this, the guys showed character and emotion making the push back. It’s disappointing.”


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