SUN Hockey Pool

Flames unhappy despite clinching playoff berth

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:12 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Calgary Flames have clinched a playoff spot, so why the long faces?

Darryl Sutter's boys were more mopey than jubilant after falling 3-2 in overtime to the Vancouver Canucks last night.

With the point in the standings, Calgary booked its spot for the post-season party but captain Jarome Iginla refused to put a positive spin on the result.

"It never feels good losing," Iginla said. "We wanted that game. We're also fighting for the division (title).

"On the one hand, we came back. On the other hand, you kind of feel when you lose in overtime, you let one get away."

The Flames engineered a heroic third-period rally to get that all-important point.

Down 2-0 entering the final frame, Iginla started the comeback on the powerplay when he tipped rookie defenceman Mark Giordano's point shot past Alex Auld to cut the Canucks lead in half.

Byron Ritchie's backhander a couple of minutes later, which may have been deflected by a Canucks defender, capped it off.

Ritchie admits his tally wasn't a masterpiece.

"It's maybe a little bit of luck but I just took one quick look and tried to get it away as quick as I could," he said.

"We weren't down and out when we were down two goals. We knew it would just take one and chip away and get shots on net. Fortunately the second one went in and forced overtime."

And clinched a playoff spot, not that head coach/GM Darryl Sutter was paying attention.

"Did it?" Sutter said, surely feigning ignorance of the overtime point's significance.

"Well, I'll tell you, our focus all year has been to put the pressure on Vancouver.

"On paper, they are probably the most talented team in this conference."

The Canucks certainly looked more like their old selves with defenceman Ed Jovanovski back from a 21-game absence with an abdominal injury that required surgery.

Jovanovski not only scored the overtime winner but also engineered Brendan Morrison's game-opening, powerplay tally. Jovanovski's soft shot from the point bounced around in front of Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff before Morrison deposited it into the net.

It looked as if the Flames would head to the locker-room just a goal down but Mattias Ohlund also got a gift with a minute to play in the opening period.

With his defence partner Robyn Regehr tied up in front of the Flames net and the puck loose near the scrum, Andrew Ference poked it right to an encroaching Ohlund, who lifted the puck into the top corner.

Calgary hosts Anaheim Tuesday at the Saddledome.

- - -

VANCOUVER CANUCKS: 3

CALGARY FLAMES: 2

OVERTIME


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