Flames continue to be powerless

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Asked what the difference was in the game, Adrian Aucoin didn't hesitate even a fraction of a second.

"Powerplay," he said, awaiting the next question.

Once again, special teams contributed to a loss for the Calgary Flames -- this time a 4-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place last night.

Dead last in the league on the road with a ghastly 9.1% success rating with the man advantage, the Flames squandered two straight 5-on-3 opportunities in the opening minutes of the second period when the score was still knotted 1-1.

"We're forcing the issue a little bit," said an always honest Alex Tanguay. "That's been the case since the start of the year. When you have 5-on-3s, you have to make sure you get good shots. It seems we're all a little anxious. We shoot it when it's not the right time, and we don't shoot it when it's time to shoot it."

Like Aucoin, there was no doubt in Tanguay's mind a powerplay goal would have changed the complexion of the game.

"I think it was a momentum changer," he said. "They came back and scored on their powerplay. I think that was the difference right there.

"We score a couple of goals there and we're up 3-1."

Just seven seconds into the middle period, Alex Edler went off for delay of game after sending the puck over the glass. A minute-and-a-half later, Lukas Krajicek joined him for tripping.

A static Kristian Huselius stickhandling with his feet planted in the circle drew a cry of frustration from the coach's box upstairs -- pretty much summing up what is wrong with the unit these days.

A second opportunity came almost immediately when former Flame Byron Ritchie joined Krajicek for cross-checking Eric Nystrom -- arguably the best Flame on the ice last night.

Again, the Flames failed to gather momentum. And when the Canucks struck for the go-ahead goal a few minutes later, the game was changed.

"Simplify it," said Aucoin, when asked how to fix it. "Just simplify it.

"We have so much skill out there that sometimes we think too much."


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