Slip Further Back
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
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
The two teams get at it again tonight in
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
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
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?
Ed Jovanovski -
Olympian had two
assists, and was
plus one on the
Trevor Linden -
Storybook return to
had a goal on the
Bryan Helmer -
Helped put the game
away with a goal and
an assist in the
OF THE GAME
in the third period,
Petr Skudra got his
left pad on Jukka
before having the
puck hit the post
and stay out.
Flames were clearly
outmatched in the
again ... they
finished 0-3 on the
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
Trevor Linden and
Andrew Cassles had
their way all night,
both sitting in the
mid 60's in
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
... 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