Both the Flames and Canucks entered this game with winning streaks, but that ended with a thud for Calgary. With both teams missing a bug chunk of their second lines, this evening was about how the hopefuls like Schroeder and Street would perform as well as the battle between the top lines.
The first period was relatively close, with the Canucks enjoying a marginal edge in territorial play and chances, but with the Flames being the only team to score when Lee Stempniak banged home a Blake Comeau rebound. The tide turned in the second, however, when Alex Burrows and Jordan Schroeder scored back-to-back markers in rapid succession. A Kevin Bieksa shot glanced off of Blair Jones later in the period, capping Vancouver’s 3 goal period.
Vancouver added to their lead early in the second when Higgins fired home a shot from the high slot. After that it was mostly cruise time for the Canucks who were happy to dump the puck deep and trap in the neutral zone. Bob Harlety tried mixing up his lines, in part to get Jarome Iginla away from the Sedin trio, but it was all for naught. Jordan Schroeder added his second of the game off a big rebound with about 4 minutes left, capping the rout.
Why the Flames Lost
Because, for the first time this year, they were fundamentally outplayed for most of the evening. Calgary’s scorers had a hard time generating consistent pressure at even strength and the Canucks were much more effective at getting and keeping the puck. Jarome Iginla generated a couple of chances in the slot, but continues to be snakebitten, which didn’t help things. Poor Leland Irving made a couple of highlight reel saves in the first half of the contest, but was eventually overrun.
Final chacee count was 20-13 for Canucks.
Hard to choose a Flames star for this one. Let’s go with Lee Stempniak, who added his team leading 5th goal and was at least occasionally dangerous throughout the night.
Sum it Up
Calgary had their first true stinker of the year, which was bound to happen eventually. Calgary’s top line couldn’t get much going against the Sedin twins and the lack of a guy like Backlund elsewhere in the roster was painfully obvious. Irving did everything he could to keep the team in it through the early going, but it wasn’t enough.