When you spend too much time in the box, fail to convert on your own powerplay, and make shoddy mistakes in your own end…things like this are going to happen. And that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday night, as the Calgary Flames gave up four third period goals to fall 7-2 at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks.
Probably not the way the Flames wanted to start this hockey game, falling down 1-0 exactly two minutes into the first period…Mason Raymond would start a banner night with his fifth of the year and would an assist about seven minutes later when Jeff Tambellini potted his fourth at 8:51, and just like that the Flames were down by two goals. Tambellini’s goal was earned though, as he outraced Mark Giordano to a puck behind the net. However, the Flames would score shortly thereafter, thanks to Tim Jackman’s third of the season…he tipped home a Mark Giordano shot at 10:01. It looked like the period might get away on the Flames, but they reeled it back in and were down by just the one goal after 20, despite being outshot 16-9 (even though scoring chances finished 6-6).
The Canucks would restore their two goal lead early on in the second period, this time on the powerplay…Daniel Sedin would pot his 14th of the season after his brother’s shot went off of Kiprusoff’s helmet; Ryan Kesler would scoop up the rebound and find Daniel at 3:05. But once again, the Flames battled back…Alex Tanguay would bank a shot off the back of Roberto Luongo for his seventh at 6:22, and this one was close. It looked like Calgary might gain some momentum after an impressive penalty kill on a Curtis Glencross cross checking major; and in fact, the Flames drew a penalty which would start in the third period.
That powerplay opened up the final frame, and didn’t yield the right result…at all. After the Flames came close to tying things, the Canucks broke in on a 2-on-0 odd man rush, which Raymond would make no mistake on…a sick deke put the Canucks up 4-2 just over a minute into the third. And then things unravelled…Burrows at 6:16, Raymond for the trick at 15:37, and Dan Hamhuis at 17:56 would bring us to our lovely 7-2 score.
One Good Reason…
…why they Flames lost? Well…we could probably count a number of ways, but it comes down to the fact that the Flames weren’t good enough throughout. Look, Calgary had their opportunity to tie things in the third period, and they didn’t cash…but when this team fights the puck like they do, it’s absolute kryptonite to trail heading into the final 20. Yes, it’s bad for every team…but it happens too much with this team. 13 times in 25 games the Flames have found themselves down after 40…that’s too much. They were down because Vancouver was better in the first two periods, but did a nice job of not letting it get away on them. But they let this thing completely derail in the third period, and did not have the ability to reel it back once again. Not good enough tonight.
Do I have to? I don’t know what’s tougher…finding the bright spot, or singling out one goat. Yeesh. I’ll go with Robyn Regehr, who finished above water in even strength chances and played 23:36 of tough, tough minutes. He was out there against the wheeling Canucks first line time and time again, as expected, and did a nice job. However, all that penalty kill time takes it’s toll…and it did, on him and the team.
Sum It Up
Once again, the Flames negate a good win over the Minnesota Wild by taking a big step backwards…and once again, they’re three games below .500. We hear this term "fragile team" and it certainly seemed apt on this night…yeah, the Raymond goal was a back breaker, but there was absolutely nothing from there. Nothing. If this team doesn’t reign in that part of their game, things will continue to go in this direction.
Yet, after saying all that…you don’t have to squint that hard to say this game could have been 3-3 early in the third period. The margin on this team remains very, very slim…the difference between a tie game and a blowout loss is that small. Odd, odd team.