Flames Slip Further Back 

D'Arcy McGrath

February 8th, 2002

It all comes down to a matter of expectations.

If, from a fan's perspective, you expected a huge effort from the Calgary Flames, on that resulted in season turning victory and ground made up in the Western conference standings ... you went home disappointed.

If, however, you just wanted to see the home side score a goal, something that they haven't been able to do in three of their last six games, you went home satisfied.

The Flames dropped a game below .500 for only the second time this season, and used an all to familiar script in doing so.

Special teams, that were much less than special.

The Canucks turned a one one second period tie into a 4 to 1 runaway victory on the strength of three straight powerplay goals in putting another stake in the hearts of the Flames playoff hopes.

The two teams get at it again tonight in Vancouver.

The loss leaves the Flames eight points shy of a trio of teams tied for the sixth, seventh and eighth spots in the west; Edmonton, Los Angeles, and Vancouver.

It gets worse ... their are two additional teams in-between in Dallas and Phoenix, both five points ahead.

With 90 points the expected target splitting successful playoff teams from also-rans the Flames will now have to win nine more games than they lose through their final 27 games, a record akin to 16-7-4 or the like.

Clearly an uphill battle.

On Friday night, things could have been different.

Tied up after one period the Flames took the play to the Canucks for much of the second frame.

Their lack of finish, a thorn in their side since mid November, reared it's ugly head again however, with the Flames unable to get the puck past Canuck goaltender Petr Skudra.

During that span the Flames hopeless powerplay came up empty on three different occasions, leading to the inevitable game turning powerplay goal by the Canucks.

The Canucks used a different power source in this one as their top line of Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and and Brendan Morrison were held off the score sheet.

The returning captain, Trevor Linden's line carried the torch for the club as Vancouver extended their unbeaten streak to nine games.

Game time tonight is 8:00pm MST in Vancouver, but will not be the second game of Hockey Night in Canada's famed double header, as the network moves to cover the Olympics.

That just might be a show of kindness to Flames fans, unable to watch another minute of this free fall.

They say it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, but I'm not to sure that works in the world of hockey.

To have won, then lost, and lost some more is clearly a disheartening event for a city that was more than ready to return to the post season.

There's always next year ... right? 




Vancouver Canucks 4
Calgary Flames 1

Box Score


Wright Savard Iginla
Hentunen Conroy Nichol
Lowry Wilm Petrovicky
Allison Shantz Berube
Morris Regehr
Gauthier Boughner
Lydman Kravchuk


1) Ed Jovanovski - Olympian had two assists, and was plus one on the night. 

2) Trevor Linden - Storybook return to Vancouver continues, had a goal on the night. 

3) Bryan Helmer - Helped put the game away with a goal and an assist in the third period.


Early in the third period, Canuck goaltender Petr Skudra got his left pad on Jukka Hentunen shot, before having the puck hit the post and stay out.


The Flames were clearly outmatched in the special teams department once again ... they finished 0-3 on the powerplay while surrendering three goals on six Canuck chances. Five on five it was a 1-1 game. ... For the first time in several games the Flames took their licks in the face off circle, only winning 42% of the night's draws. Trevor Linden and Andrew Cassles had their way all night, both sitting in the mid 60's in percentage. Craig Conroy and Clarke Wilm had tough nights for Calgary. ... The two teams spent 24 minutes in the Flames zone on the night compared to 21 in the Vancouver end, not a big disparity in a game with a six three split in powerplay chances. ... The Flames did manage to out hit their visitory, by a 24 to 21 margin. Bob Boughner and Clarke Wilm led the way for Calgary with four hits apiece. Bryan Allen led the Canucks with three hits. ... A statistic that might be a telling sign of the Flames offensive woes of late? Ron Petrovicky led all Flame shooters with three shots on the night.



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