NHL Hockey

Vancouver is first stop as Calgary looks to bounce back

Put the video into the round file, delete it from the virtual and personal memory banks and move along.

It's time for the Calgary Flames to do just that after a disappointing loss to the San Jose Sharks.

After the 5-2 defeat, which left them only two points up on the Sharks in the battle for the top spot in the Pacific Division, the Flames are well aware they must absorb what they can but move on to their upcoming road swing.

"A new day," goalie David Rittich told Postmedia after his team's loss, a game in which he was removed after surrendering two goals on six shots. "I'm going to get some sleep and be ready for next game and next practice."

The Flames, who have lost two of three games but have a 9-2-1 record in their last 12, begin a four-game trip Saturday night in Vancouver to face the Canucks, before venturing to Florida to face the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers, and then finally the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"We were turning pucks over and that's when they create their chances, and they did that," Calgary center Sean Monahan said of the loss to the Sharks. "We were chasing the game from the start.

"I still think we've got a better game to show. We didn't show it (Thursday). It's an important road trip now and we've got to flip the camera and look forward," Monahan said.

The Flames did receive good news on Friday. Defenseman Travis Hamonic practiced fully after leaving Thursday's game late in the second period. He is expected to be in the lineup on Saturday.

The Canucks, meanwhile, have lost three straight games and four of their last five, falling out of a wild card spot. They eked out a point in their last loss, a 4-3 defeat in overtime in Chicago on Thursday.

Vancouver was expected to be a bottom feeder this season but has stayed in the playoff fight, so tying a game late in Chicago was a positive.

"It was a good point -- a big point," Canucks coach Travis Green told Postmedia. "We had a great game 5-on-5, and you're frustrated because they (Blackhawks) have a great power play and ours isn't clicking and it was the difference in the game. Our guys aren't trying to take penalties, I know that."

Vancouver managed one power-play goal against the Blackhawks, Elias Pettersson's 25th goal of the season, that tied the game at 3-3 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

The Canucks, however, have gone just 3-for-33 on the power play in the last dozen games. The Blackhawks twice scored on the man advantage on Thursday.

"It's not going our way on the power play and I don't have an answer why, but we have to continue to find a way to be creative and keep working," Pettersson said. "Magic isn't going to happen. It's us in here who have to figure it out."

"We did a lot of good things tonight," added Green. "To get down 2-0 and claw your way back and get a point was big. It gets to 3-3 and we had our chances to win.

"The way we played, we could be sitting here with six or seven points on this (four-game) trip, but at the end of the day you've got to play well. Play well and good things will happen. You can't just chase the game and chase points; you have to play your best," Green said.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 8, 2019

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