March 15 2010 11:14AM
Glancing at the stats page is often a poor substitute for actually watching the game.
That wasn't the case last night, however. All you need to know about the contest is contained in the statsheets: the Flames were outshot 20-6, outchanced 15-2 and down 3-0 after the first 20 minutes. And, in truth, that's all you'd need to know about the game because it was all over but the cryin' at that point.
The Flames clawed their way back in the final two periods, but the hole was too deep at that point. Unfortunately, it turns out that spending an entire period running around like panicked princesses looking for a lost tiera before the grand ball is fairly harmful to the prospects of winning. Who knew?
The first was punctuated by Canucks scoring chances, Flames penalties and Miikka Kiprusoff making desperate, diving saves from each corner of his crease. The one thing the game summary doesn't tell you is the fact that things could have been even worse in the first had Kipper not stood on his head.
As mentioned, the Flames settled down in periods two and three. Part of that, of course, is Vancouver "playing to score" and sitting back to protect the lead, which is a tendency of most teams in the league. Sutter made some alterations in the third period with the team desperately chasing, including elevating Curtis Glencross who was one of the more consistently active forwards. The Flames pulled within two thanks to a rare Robyn Regehr goal, but couldn't make a dent otherwise. They ended up dominating the possession stats and outchancing the Canucks 15-6 the rest of the way, but it wasn't enough.
Aside from a few post-whistle tussles, this game was fisticuff free
Three Stars (as picked by me)
1.) Sedin (pick one)
2.) Ryan Kelser
3.) Curtis Glencross
The Big Save
Although it didn't matter to the final outcome, KIpper's diving stick save on a Samuelsson wrap-around in the first period was a thing of beauty.
The Big Hit
Mark Giordano crushed everyone favorite Canucks Alex Burrows along the boards.
What it Means
The Flames remain in 9th place below the Detroit Red Wings. Despite going 4-0-1 in their last five contests, the Flames have made up precisely zero ground in the battle for the final playoff spot.
The aforementioned Red Wings visit the 'Dome tonight in what could prove to be the game the makes or breaks the Flames season.