Despite the two teams both coming into this game with .500 records, the Canucks showed that when they need to, they can bury a team with one foot in the grave. The Flames had put together some much needed wins. Even though they didn’t look all that convincing, they had been able to hold on and out last their opposition. That just wasn’t going to fly tonight however, and the Canucks made them pay by coming out strong and fast right from the get-go.
It’s not like Vancouver came out and gave Calgary something they hadn’t seen before. It was business as usual and before the Flames knew it, they were already in chase mode. The decision to take Babchuk out of the line-up tonight was mostly in part to his ineffectiveness at ES. Instead, Matt Stajan was put in to provide further depth in the forward ranks. For the most part Calgary was in the game early, but you could see the play tip and once it started… it was a landslide. At 7:57, Chris Higgins was sprung on a breakaway and made no mistake on the deke. The play would be indicative of the night, because the pass to Higgins was a bomb and the pass seemed to get through the entire Flames line, without even so much as a tip. At 13:42, Alex Burrows, on the PP, just bullied his way through the defense and put the puck passed Kiprusoff; 2-0. Vancouver rounded out the period making it 3-0 with another goal on the PP, from Daniel Sedin. The Flames special teams looked downright awful, and the Canucks made them pay. as Kent pointed out in scoring chances, Vancouver was all over Calgary 13-3.
The damage from the first carried right into the second period. At 3:47, Cody Hodgson made it 4-0, and you could put the Flames night to bed after that. The goal was just an all out brutal effort from the players on the ice. Lapierre worked his way out of a check that should have separated him from the puck, and to top it off threw a lateral pass right across to the crease that could have been stopped at three different points, right on the stick of Hodgson, and to the back of the net. it was cruise control after that for the Nucks, and they still managed to add another to make the total 5. Calgary managed to out chance Vancouver 6-5, but going 0 for 3 on the PP doesn’t help their cause, and it showed in the sloppy play.
Can the competition committee try to institute the "decline" option on the PP? In the third period the Flames again went 0 for 3, and that included a 4 min PP with Henrik Sedin in the box. It was a terrible effort and the Flames looked like they were just playing out the motions of the game. Calgary went 3 for 3 on the PK, but as mentioned before, Vancouver had already inflicted the damage, and was just skating a passing scrimmage for the rest of the game. Calgary again out chanced Vancouver, 5-2; which is a nothing stat, except for the fact that it showed just how ineptly the home team played.
ONE GOOD REASON
… why the Flames lost? Quite simply the Flames were not even close to being the better of these two teams. Despite the Canucks only being .500 at this point, they are still the best team in this division and they are a team that knows how to move in for the kill. Babchuk out of the line-up was not a solution for this defense, it was merely a way to limit the bleeding. The Flames have a slower defense core and when you put that against some very fast and talented opposition forwards, it’s not hard to guess who comes out on top. The Iginla line matching was a disaster all night. Even when the Captain showed some momentum, it was quickly quelled
I really tried to find a silver lining in this game. I was half serious in the chat room when I said that if Karlsson didn’t allow a goal, I would choose him as the Red Warrior. In the end, the damage was done, so I can’t give it to Hank. I will give honorable mention to Alex Tanguay. he scored the goal to end Lu’s bid for the shutout, and he wasn’t on the ice for any of the Nucks goals. After all is said and done, the whole team failed tonight. no individual distinction.
SUM IT UP
The holes that are in the Flames game right now got exploited by Vancouver. They weren’t able to mask deficiencies in one area with the play of another. The next step is to take as much as you can from this game and learn from the mistakes; lord knows there were enough of them. Schools in boys…let’s move on. the Red Wings are next and are also struggling, having dropped 5 in a row. Flames need to regroup and right the ship.