Preview: Lightning, Flames each aiming to bounce back from losses
TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m.
CALGARY, Alberta — Following a heart-breaking loss to the NHL’s second-best team on Tuesday at home, things don’t get any easier for the Calgary Flames.
After surrendering a pair of goals 10 seconds apart late in the third period of their 4-2 loss to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday, the Flames (25-17-8) will look to bounce back when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning (34-13-3) at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.
“It’s a new day and hopefully we can put this behind us and move forward and forget about this,” said right winger Michael Frolik, who made a costly mistake that led to Eric Haula’s game-tying goal on Tuesday in his return to Calgary’s lineup after missing the past 12 games with a broken jaw. “Those mistakes kind of happen and that’s kind of part of the game and like I said, the message was, ‘Don’t worry about it and move forward.’ ”
Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said that he fully expects his players to put the loss to the Golden Knights behind them while preparing for the Lightning, who just happen to have the NHL’s best record.
“I know what this group is made of,” Gulutzan said. “This team is playing a good team and they’re going to put together a great effort — like we did for last game and just didn’t get what we wanted.
“Hey, we blew a game at home and had it under control for 58 minutes and now the world’s going to end — I don’t ride that train. I fully expect — knowing the group — that they will be ready to play. We’re playing a good team and it’s a game and if we knew who was going to win, we wouldn’t have to play the games.”
Meanwhile, the Lightning are looking to have a bounce-back effort of their own after dropping a 3-1 road decision to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, while also avenging a 5-1 setback they suffered to the Flames at home on Jan. 11.
“Our compete level wasn’t good enough and it was something we needed to work on,” said Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman following an intense practice in Winnipeg on Wednesday before the team headed west to Calgary. “It was a really good practice.”
Assistant coach Todd Richards also liked what he saw from his players the day after their loss to the Jets.
“Sometimes on days like this, it’s not easy to practice,” Richards said. “We should expect that same thing (Thursday) night in Calgary. I think the players went out this morning and took a good step in the right direction.”
After being held without a power-play goal for four straight games, which is their longest such drought this season, the Lightning will be looking to break out of that slump against the Flames.
“We’ve kind of lost our direction as far as our execution and playing that attacking style on our power play,” Richards said. “Right now we’re on a downward swing and we have to try to correct some things, change some things so we can get it swinging in the upward momentum for us.”