Flames fall to Flyers in shootout

Miikka kiprusoff, from the Calgary Flames, gets company in the net from Maxime Talbot, from the...

Miikka kiprusoff, from the Calgary Flames, gets company in the net from Maxime Talbot, from the Philadelphia Flyers, in NHL hockey action at the Scotiabank Saddledome in downtown Calgary, Alberta on February 25, 2012. (STUART DRYDEN/QMI AGENCY)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:04 AM ET

CALGARY - Retro night served up some old-time hockey.

No, there weren’t any line brawls — we didn’t go that far back in time, even with the Broad Street Bullies in town — but the goals came fast and furious enough to rekindle memories of the 1980s and 1990s.

In the end, the Calgary Flames fell in a 5-4 shootout to the Philadelphia Flyers, which drops them to 11th in the Western Conference, one point back of the trio of clubs tied for eighth.

For all those who remember the bygone era of fluorescent clothes and synthesizers, it was a time when early leads weren’t safe.

The Flames (28-23-11) relived that aspect, too, wasting a 3-0 lead and then a 4-3 edge in the third period en route to a third-straight defeat.

“Once we take the lead, our gaps get too big, both offensively and defensively,” said Alex Tanguay, whose penalty shot goal made it a 4-3 affair with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation. “We won’t be successful if we keep doing that.

“We are finding ways to shoot ourselves in the foot.

“We’re lucky to get one point tonight.

“It’s frustrating. You look at the shots, 45-21, and how do you expect to win doing that?

“We got lucky tonight.”

Matt Read was the hero by netting the winner in the fifth round of the shootout, but the Flames had more to lament than failing to win in extra time yet again.

Calgary, which has gone past regulation in six of the last 10 games, but only tasted victory once in that span, had every reason to control the affair.

The hosts staked a 2-0 lead on their first two shots, with Mark Giordano and Matt Stajan — who scored in consecutive games for the first time in more than two years — taking advantage of struggling Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who’s hardly proving to the Flyers faithful he’s the answer to the franchise’s long-standing netminding issues.

And when Tom Kostopoulos made it a 3-0 game midway through the second period with Calgary’s first shorthanded goal of the season, it should have been a no-brainer how to complete the gameplan.

The way Bryzgalov was surrendering soft goals and also juggling shots he did save, all the Flames needed to do was keep the pressure up and go for more.

Instead, the hosts did their usual routine of sitting back.

“We let them take the game to us,” lamented Kostopoulos. “We have to learn from that.

“The situation with a three-goal lead, we need those two points.

“We need to figure out how to keep pushing.

“The best defence is offence and keeping it in their end.”

Instead, the Flyers bailed out their beleaguered netminder with a comeback even bigger than Saddledome faithful of 19,289 witnessed two nights earlier when the Flames gassed a two-goal edge on the Phoenix Coyotes before also falling in a shootout Thursday.

Jakub Voracek and Braydon Coburn made it a one-goal game before the second intermission, and then Scott Hartnell twice tallied to pull the Flyers even.

“The good part is we’re getting (leads).

“We’re having real solid first period, but it slips away from us,” said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. “We should have had more shots tonight.

“He (Bryzgalov) was probably fighting it early and unfortunately we weren’t able to get enough shots.

“We tried to put some on them, but it wasn’t enough.”

Head coach Brent Sutter had the concrete numbers to prove Iginla’s statement, noting the Flyers six forwards on the top two lines combined for 18 of the 45 shots on goal. Calgary’s top-six collection mustered seven.

“Our top two lines have to shoot the puck more. That’s why offensively they’re struggling,” Sutter said. “We want to make the perfect play.

“We want to make the prettiest pass.

“In the last few games, we haven’t got momentum back because we haven’t gone after it, shooting the puck from all over the ice and driving the net.”

Even if the Flames are losing, they’re still managing to collect points, having compiled a 5-1-5 mark through February.

“It was a game that wasn’t picture perfect, but we could have still won it and should have still won it,” Iginla said.

“Guys all want the same thing, want to win, and it’s finding that fine line.

“We have to play with that confidence, get the lead and stay with it.”

Bryzgalov made 17 saves for the Flyers (34-20-7), who sit fourth in the East.

Calgary’s homestand concludes Monday against the St. Louis Blues.


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