Another loss for the Flames that really no one is surprised by. Going into the game, Calgary had 0.2% of still making the playoffs which realistically meant they had no chance. Even gaining the point in overtime, with the Phoenix win and some games that will al put the math into place, the Flames have officially been eliminated from the playoffs. I won’t even give the Canucks the benefit of being the team that eliminated Calgary either, that distinction solely hangs around the neck of each Flames player and coach. Wear it well boys.
The Flames came out in the first period and actually showed some jump. Playing like they still had something to prove, be it to the fans, or to themselves, they looked to make a statement early. Applying pressure in the Vancouver zone didn’t mean to much though when what has been the case far to often over the last eight games, they had no finish. Then at the 5:08 mark Henrik Sedin carried the puck from the neutral zone all the way into the Flames zone. Half way through the right face off circle, Sedin would saucer pass a back hand over to Maxim Lapierre, that he would in turn push underneath Karlsson’s pad, that wasn’t even along the ice. Despite Karlsson not playing an NHL game since December, it was a terrible goal and another example as to why Hank won’t be with the Flames next season. Shots were 12-7 in favour of the Flames, but the goal took the wind out of their sales and by the end of the period, Vancouver had taken over the scoring chances 7-5.
In the second period, Vancouver completely took over this game. They dominated Calgary in shots, 11-8; and completely decimated them 6-1 in scoring chances. At the 5:20 mark, while on the power play, Olli Jokinen would cough up the puck to Yannick Hansen, and he would be off to the races with the short handed breakaway. At about 5:27, Mark Giordano makes an incredible play, coming all the way back to not only catch hansen, but disrupt the play and knock the puck into the corner. Iginla picks up the puck at his own blueline and goes kitty-corner to the Canucks blueline, stops and feeds Olli Jokinen the one timer for the power play goal. The goal came on their only power play and only scoring chance of the period.
The third period started well for the boys. At just :51 seconds into the frame, Mike Cammalleri unleashed a rocket that Luongo didn’t see but I’m sure he heard go passed him and into the net. Great pass from Moss from the left boards and despite all logic, Calgary lead Vancouver 2-1. The Canucks didn’t dominate the Flames too much in the third, holding small margins in shots (12-10) and scoring chances (6-4) as well. At 11:45, Sedin and Burrows would play keep away from Calgary and then dish the puck off to Marc-Andre Gragnani who would put the slap shot through Karlsson to tie the game at two. Despite Hank feeling he was interfered with by Lapierre, he whiffed on the shot and let another soft goal go in between his arm and his body. Strike two Tower.
Given Calgary’s record in overtime, when the clock hit zeros, fans everywhere must have felt like the game was lost. Despite the record, they played overtime anyways, but at 3:52, Karlsson would cap the night off, letting the recently returned Andrew Ebbett score the winner. And that was the ball game.
1. Maxim Lapierre
2. Mike Cammalleri
3. Andrew Ebbett
Fans had to know that as soon as they saw Karlsson in net, that the Flames had surrendered to their fate. They can say all they want to the media that they are playing for pride, because what else are they supposed to say? As always actions speak louder than words and if you didn’t hear the message tonight, Henrik Karlsson put three exclamation marks on it over a span of sixty-five minutes.
It’s not mathematical, but it is official now that they will not be going to the playoffs. With a maximum of 90 possible points, they’re done. All that’s left now is to sit back and play for fun in the last two games; the party starts on Thursday when they get to play these same Vancouver Canucks. Bring your party favorites, puck drop is at 7 pm on Sportsnet and the Fan 960.