EDMONTON – It’s symbolic that perhaps the finest execution by a Calgary Flames player over the long weekend came on an off day.
It came from Milan Lucic, who was asked if maturity is what prevented him from finishing his check on Mike Smith quite like he did so violently against Ryan Miller a decade earlier.
“I definitely wasn’t trying to hit him, I was braking,” explained Lucic, who was tossed from his club’s Game 3 loss, but won’t be suspended.
“I think I agree with Darryl in the sense that if I actually did charge, we both wouldn’t be playing tomorrow. So yes…maturity. Yes.”
A mature approach is definitely what’s needed from a relatively inexperienced Flames team hoping to change the narrative in a series that saw the Oilers score eight straight goals over Games 2 and 3 to take a 2-1 lead.
Save for two slow starts, McDavid and his top line have spent the bulk of the time putting the Flames on their heels in a high-scoring series that doesn’t favour the Flames.
What’s needed now is for the Flames to flip the script by returning to the physical, forecheck-first possession game that led them to the division title.
Their tight-checking approach was what got them through Round 1 when they faced a similar series deficit against Dallas.
But as Mike Tyson so famously said: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the…