Flames can’t lose sight of big picture after east-coast gauntlet

The evidence is indisputable, the Calgary Flames are still a tier or two down from being amongst the league’s elite.

No newsflash there.

No shame either, as the team just capped a gruelling trip with consecutive losses to three of the league’s top five outfits.

Supporters can take solace in the fact that in all three affairs the Flames found a way to keep the game close, for varying stretches, despite being clearly outplayed.

However, all three games got away from them in the third and wound up being convincing losses that saw the Panthers score five unanswered goals; the Lightning score four straight; and the Hurricanes post an uninterrupted quartet.

Some might call them lapses, others would deem them inevitabilities.

Either way, they added up to a humbling punctuation on measuring stick games that saw the Flames outscored 16-6.

That’s not how they hoped or envisioned stacking up against the east’s beasts.

So, while being questioned about Friday’s 6-3 loss in Carolina, Darryl Sutter figured it was a good time to remind people just how low expectations were for this group in the fall.

“This summer you threw everybody under the bus – don’t do it yet,” said Sutter of the summertime sentiment in Calgary where many feared the club was on the cusp of having to rebuild.

“Remember what we said, I was trying to be an ‘honest, hard-working team that tries to make the playoffs.’

“So that’s…

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