On Saturday night, the Flames did what they do: beat the Edmonton Oilers. The night after, the Canucks did what they do: beat the Calgary Flames. After opening the scoring in the first period, the Flames allowed five unanswered goals to have their modest four game point streak snapped, falling 5-1 at the hands of the defending Western Conference champions, dropping the team back two games below .500.
A very strong first period from the Flames saw them stay right with their high flying opponents, and at times carry the play 5-on-5. They were rewarded for their solid opening frame with 86 seconds to go in the first, with Alex Tanguay scoring a goal from behind the red line, beating Roberto Luongo in the fashion we’ve seen numerous times before. Tanguay’s fifth of the season had Calgary up on the Canucks after one period, killing off a long two man advantage in the process.
Things started to turn in the second period though, which shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise, because Vancouver is a very good team. On their third powerplay of the game, Vancouver would even the affair with Kevin Bieksa’s point shot deflected on the way in by Blake Comeau, beating Henrik Karlsson for his second of the season at 5:13. Late in the period, Chris Higgins would score his eighth of the season thanks to a nice shift from David Booth; he’d get the primary assist on the Higgins marker with 59 seconds left in the period. The Canucks would win the scoring chance battle 5-3 in the second period, and they’d take a lead into the third.
Just 40 seconds into the third, the Flames would fall down two goals thanks to Booth’s fifth of the season, as his wraparound try went off the skate of T.J. Brodie in the crease. Just 74 seconds later, a Jannik Hansen outside shot would elude Karlsson thanks to an odd re-direct on the way in; it’d count as Hansen’s seventh of the season and put this one away for the home side. They’d tack on one more on the powerplay at 5:42 with Daniel Sedin sniping his ninth from the left circle taking us to our final score.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? Well, after a really strong opening 20 minutes, they just couldn’t keep up with their superior opponent. Calgary got away from what has made them successful as of late, with far too many turnovers at both bluelines in the second and third period. When you add that on top of a tired team and a very good opponent, things will go south on you in a hurry, and they did.
I didn’t have much issue with Jay Bouwmeester’s game throughout, as I thought he was pretty strong. He was one of the few Flames players to finish in the plus in terms of even strength scoring chances, and he was his regular workhorse self. Bouwmeester played more than eight minutes shorthanded, and was pretty solid from start to finish.
Sum It Up
I didn’t think Calgary was necessarily terrible on this night, but they weren’t good enough for the majority of the evening against an opponent like Vancovuer. The Canucks enjoy playing the Flames right now, and it’s because they’ve had so much darn success against them as of late, as Vancouver has won 11 of the last 14 games in this series. The injury news on Karlsson is important, as he left in the third period with a suspected left knee injury; we’ll find out more on Monday.