No longer 'Dome-inate

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

A black cat wandered the players' parking lot outside the Saddledome after the morning skate yesterday.

National Hockey League players are considered a superstitious sort and you've got to wonder whether any of the Calgary Flames players noticed the charcoal feline cross their paths on their way out.

It was that kind of night.

Nothing seemed to go right for the Flames as they fell 3-1 to the Vancouver Canucks, snapping their franchise record for consecutive home-ice wins at 10.

Every pass they attempted seemed to be deflected or intercepted.

Almost every rush ended harmlessly.

It seemed every good play they made quickly turned into a bad one.

When Daymond Langkow -- his nose freshly bloodied by a teammate's stick that was lifted high by a Canuck -- batted Daniel Sedin's shot out of the air during a second-period attack, it could easily have trickled to the boards and into friendly hands. Instead, it went right back to Sedin, who made no mistake with his second shot to put the Canucks up 2-0 with his first of two on the night.

Just a minute earlier, the Flames seemed to catch a break when Alexandre Burrows' goal was waved off for a high stick.

But it was that kind of night.

Calgary hit posts twice in the first period and again in the third. And when they had a chance to narrow the gap with a two-man advantage midway through the final frame, Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo robbed them blind.

Tony Amonte had a chance to put his side up first on the new Enmax Energy Board just minutes into the opening period when he outraced a pair of Canucks defenders to a loose puck up the middle.

All alone as he stepped across the blueline, Amonte went high on Luongo.

He had the goaltender beat, too -- just not the post.

The sound of the puck clanging off the crossbar haunted Amonte as he shook his head on the bench while the replay was shown repeatedly on the big screen.

They hit iron again later in the period when a Dion Phaneuf blast ricocheted off something in front and bounced off the post.

All four lines took turns storming the crease early but came away empty-handed.

Unable to score despite the strong initial push, the Flames got sloppy and nearly handed the Canucks the lead.

The worst giveaway was a crisp pass from the usually accurate Alex Tanguay as he tried to break out of the Flames zone. His offering from the boards went right to a forechecking Matt Cooke, who forced Miikka Kiprusoff to stretch way out to make the save.

But Kiprusoff couldn't keep bailing out his crew in the second as the Canucks gradually took control of the game.

Trevor Linden avenged a couple of big first-period hits at his expense by netting his fourth of the season five minutes into the middle frame. The 36-year-old Linden was left uncovered in front of the Flames net when Stephane Yelle shifted position on the powerplay and easily tapped in a rebound.

He nearly got another gift for his fifth on another 'Nucks powerplay but missed the open net.

The lone bright spot for the Flames came in the final minute when call-up David Moss scored his second NHL goal in his second game with the Flames to break the goose-egg.


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