On a night the Calgary Flames contained Connor McDavid, two self-inflicted wounds ultimately cost the team the game and led to them being down 3-1 in their series versus the Edmonton Oilers.

The first one occurred just 21 seconds into the contest, when goalie Jacob Markstrom had a clearing attempt intercepted by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who capitalized on the empty net to put the Oilers ahead early. Despite the early gaffe, the Flames controlled the pace of play and shot volume for much of the game.

“I thought we had a really good first period,” head coach Darryl Sutter said.

“That’s what I told [the players] afterwards. This is a winnable game for us…and we damn near did.”

"We know we played well today,” Mikael Backlund said. 

“The game could've gone either way…in the second and third [periods], we took away their rush chances more and more and took away time and space. [We had] a lot of [offensive] zone time.”

Markstrom settled in afterwards, as did the rest of his teammates. Calgary’s goalie made a number of key stops, including robbing Leon Draisaitl in the second period with a blocker save. Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund scored in the second period 36 seconds apart to make it a one-goal game before Rasmus Andersson was the recipient of a Mike Smith mis-read, scoring from his own blue line to briefly tie the game before Nugent-Hopkins got the winner with under four minutes left.

“I thought we showed a lot of resolve or resilience,” Sutter said.

“That’s part of battling back,” the coach added, referring to Markstrom’s play after the opening 20 minutes.

“We showed really good character as a group,” Backlund said.

The second self-inflicted wound was Andersson taking a double minor with less than three minutes left. Down a goal, the Flames could not pull their goalie for a sixth skater, severely hampering any comeback attempts. Calgary ultimately got just two shots on goal between Andersson’s penalty and Evander Kane’s empty net goal to seal the deal.

Connor McDavid had two points, but the Flames did a good job in limiting his time and space in the neutral and offensive zones. Calgary subtly bumped and checked him, and were often in lanes and limiting what he could do with the puck.

“That’s a totally different animal, that player,” Sutter said.

“We’ve got to manage when he’s on the ice but recognize when he’s out there. There’s times we did it…you’re not gonna shut him down.”

“Staying on top of him more, having better reloads, we have to keep doing that,” Backlund said.

Chris Tanev, who had missed the last four games because of injury, suited up for Calgary and played over 19 minutes on the second pairing. Tanev had wanted to play in Games 2 and 3 and was cleared by the team’s medical staff ahead of Game 4.

“There’s a reason why he’s a leader on our team and I think he showed that tonight,” Rasmus Andersson said. 

“It’s never easy battling through injuries, especially with what he’s battling through too. He showed a lot of heart tonight. All the guys on the bench, you know, we saw that. We tried playing for him as well.”

“He’s a great leader for us,” Backlund added. “It’s great to see him in the room. Has great character – always plays really solid and hard.”

Despite the loss and stakes at hand for Thursday’s Game Five, Sutter was happy with the team’s overall performance.

“I thought we played well,” Sutter said.

“We’re not going to go away easy and if they thought they were going to beat us easy, that wasn’t the case.”