It’s been over a week now since the Darryl Sutter 2.0 era began for the Calgary Flames. Although the Flames lost the first two games since Sutter’s rehire, he was not behind the bench for those games.
Darryl Sutter in Quarantine
When the Calgary Flames broke the news that Darryl Sutter was returning to the bench, he had already been in quarantine. But not being in quarantine for the required time, Sutter had to miss the first two games of his new tenure. The Flames lost both of those games.
The first was a 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The Flames looked good in that game and it was a really entertaining game. The team also looked like something had changed. The two goalies battled hard with Mike Smith stopping 34 of 38 shots for the Oilers. The Flames’ Jacob Markstrom stopped 30 of 33 shots, however the deciding shot was a goal late in the game by Connor McDavid.
The second loss came at the hands of the Ottawa Senators in a 4-3 shoot-out loss. The Flames have had their troubles handling the Sens this season. Sure, the Flames have won two games against them out of the five they have played. But remember, this is an Ottawa Senators team that spent most of the first half of the season near the bottom of the standings.
Darryl Sutter Behind the Bench
Last Thursday, Darryl Sutter made his actual coaching debut… or re-debut. You know what I mean. It was the first of back-to-back games against the Montreal Canadiens. The first two games against the Canadiens earlier in the season didn’t go too bad. One was a 4-2 loss to a, then hot Carey Price in net for the Habs. The next was a 37 shot, 2-0 shutout win for Jacob Markstrom and the Flames.
Game number three against the Canadiens on Thursday night was more of the same from that win earlier in the season. The Flames won the game by a score of 2-1. Jacob Markstrom was near perfect, only allowing one goal in 18 shots. Jake Allen took another loss allowing two goals in 29 shots. The big difference was in the actual game play.
The Flames started covering more of the middle of the ice. Taking away shooting lanes and helping out their goaltender and defence when needed. They also got some secondary scoring from former Vancouver Canuck Josh Leivo. Leivo scored both Flames goals. In post-game interviews, Coach Sutter said they still have some work to do. They still gave up some premium scoring chances, which they hope to clean up.
It’s so good to see a head coach talking to the players on the bench again— niftycrispy (@NiftyCrispy) March 14, 2021
Saturday night wasn’t perfect by any means, but probably their best game of the season according many fans on social media:
Monkey Off Monahan’s Back
The Flames Sean Monahan finally snapped out of a big slump, scoring twice in the first period! The second period saw Mikael Backlund score as well and with Jacob Markstrom stopping 24 of 25 shots, the Flames picked up the 3-1 win. The back to back wins were the first since back on February 6th and 9th, both against the Edmonton Oilers.
Speaking of those Edmonton Oilers, next up for the Flames is another Battle of Alberta matchup Monday night at 7pm MST/9pm EST. This will be a huge test for Coach Sutter and the Flames as they look to find a way to contain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
I’m Jason Beisick and I’ll be covering the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers for the Belly Up Hockey team. You can follow me on Twitter as well for general sports talk and likely some trash talk as well.