Under the flickering lights of unwelcomed defeat, the Calgary Flames found themselves singed by a loss that should’ve been a win, especially against a Chicago Blackhawks team pieced together with what one might call the remnants of a once-formidable force. Jonathan Huberdeau, donning the colors of defeat like a garment too heavy for his shoulders, shared his raw sentiments with Pat Steinberg of The FAN 960 in the quiet aftermath of the Flames’ 4-3 Sunday skirmish.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Huberdeau confessed, the sting of the defeat evident in his words. “It’s a game that we’ve got to win.”
Mikael Backlund, the Flames’ stalwart captain, addressed the somber locker room with a grim determination. As one with the heart of the team etched into every fiber of his being, he voiced the necessity of securing such a game if aspirations of playoff glory were to be more than mere whispers in the wind.
“If we want to be a playoff team, that’s a game we’ve got to win, find a way to win,” Backlund declared, his voice carrying the weight of the loss. “It wasn’t good enough.”
The sentiment of missed opportunity and lackluster performance resonated far beyond the players, echoed in the terse words of head coach Ryan Huska, whose succinct diagnosis offered no sugar-coated comforts.
“They were hungrier and harder than we were,” he stated, boiling down the complication of the game to a digestible, biting truth.
Colin Blackwell’s hockey blade cut twice through hope, his goals anchoring the Blackhawks to a lead that tasted of unexpected sweetness. His second strike etched into the record as the decisive blow, the game-winner against all odds.
Nazem Kadri flashed brilliance with his second lighting of the lamp, igniting a flicker of possibility for the Flames. Yet, that flicker proved a mere ghost dancing in the shadows, as Calgary’s rally fell a breath too short.
The Blackhawks’ recent depleting loss of their fledgling phenomenon, Connor Bedard, only accentuated the improbability of their victory. Bedard, an 18-year-old dynamo whose name had been synonymous with scoring among the newcomers, found himself sidelined with a broken jaw, his contributions ripped away too soon.
With injuries carving through their roster, Chicago had been reduced to a squad supported by the thinnest of threads. Absent were eight key forwards, including the likes of Taylor Hall, and their defensive anchor, Seth Jones, all key cogs in what should be a well-oiled machine. The numbers were stark in the gloom—the salary of the wounded far outweighing that of those still battling on the ice.
As for the Calgary Flames, the road had been their host and their harsh teacher. Their journey, seeing them triumph on one night and tumble the next, culminated in a record of 17-18-5, leaving them teetering precariously close to the edge of playoff contention. With a handful of games played more than their rivals, they now tread a path fraught with urgency—a path where each step must be a march towards redemption if they are to rise from the ashes of this loss and soar once more as contenders for the cup.