Calgary’s season series with the Vancouver Canucks will end with zero regulation wins for the Flames, after they fell 3-2 in overtime Saturday night at the ‘Dome. The Nucks stormed back from a 2-0 deficit and scored a pair in the third period before a Christian Ehrhoff shot sealed things in extra time; the Flames will finish with 94 points on the season, finishing the season with an overtime loss.
The first period went the way many thought it would, with both teams playing a very pedestrian game, which made sense. The Flames had nothing to play for and the Canucks were about ready to move onto the season that mattered. But some point in the first, things started getting a little chippy, and some rather heated chirping and behind the play stuff set the scene for a pretty interesting final 40 minutes; it was scoreless after one.
Calgary got their game going in the second though, coming away with a 12-4 scoring chances edge, and scoring twice. The first came at 2:39 of the second period, as the Flames took advantage of a 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity. With Chris Higgins already in the box for high sticking, Ryan Kesler would take a hooking call, and the Flames would convert, with Alex Tanguay feeding a gorgeous pass to Jarome Iginla at the left side of the net at 2:39. The captain would put home his 43rd of the season and a 1-0 Calgary lead. On the powerplay once again, this time a Kesler slashing call, it would be Mikael Backlund following through on a second effort. His tenth on the season gave Calgary a 2-0 lead heading into the third period.
But the third period was the Vancouver show, and it started early on. With a scramble in front of the Flames net, Alex Burrows would put home his 26th of the season from a short distance (of course) and it got the visitors back on the right track. As things got chippy through the rest of the third period, Calgary would be a down a man at 9:14 after Matt Stajan gave quite the pitchfork to Maxim Lapierre. As the Canucks powerplay was winding down, they’d break in four wide with Daniel Sedin finding Henrik Sedin and eventually dropping to Kesler for his 41st and a 2-2 tie.
The overtime period saw the Canucks have the puck almost the whole time, and after some offensive zone time, the puck would come back to Ehrhoff at the point. He’d shoot it and get it past Henrik Karlsson, who was very good all night long…and who was not very happy about the winning goal. He felt he was interfered with, argued the call throughout Calgary’s salute to the fans, but the goal stood, and for a third time this season, Vancouver left Calgary with two points.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? Because the President’s Trophy winning Canucks took the game over in the third period. Vancouver was very pedestrian throughout the opening 40 minutes, but as they are capable of doing, they drove things when the game was on the line. That’s what Vancouver does, and that’s what they did, and on this night it was good enough for their 54th win of the season.
I’ll go with Karlsson, just because he played well, but even more so because of his protest of the game winning goal. He was not a happy camper, and while he had cooled down a little bit once we had gotten into the locker room, he was still visibly unhappy with Vancouver winning. He looked cool, calm and composed throughout the entire game, and thwarted the Canucks on some pretty solid scoring chances.
Sum It Up
Head Coach Brent Sutter was happy with the effort his team displayed in a game that meant nothing to them, and as Kent says in his scoring chances post, the Flames played a pretty solid game 82. Fact is, Vancouver remains a better team than Calgary, and just like the Flames really only needed to play one period against Edmonton, the Canucks only had to play one against Calgary to come away with a win.
So ends the 2010/2011 season for the Flames, and it was another disappointing one. The summer of analysis and evaluation will start soon, but I’d like to extend a thank you to all of the FlamesNation readers and commenters all season long, because it’s been a blast to be along for the ride as the site continues to grow.