SUN Hockey Pool

Flames robbed by Roberto

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Shelling Roberto Luongo with nearly 50 shots, you'd think the Calgary Flames would be waking up this morning as Northwest Division champions.

But the Vancouver Canucks goaltender threw himself in front of 46 of the 47 blasts to deny them, and when the backstop was down and out -- a rare sight on a night he was clearly the best player on the ice -- the Flames shot blanks in a 4-1 loss at GM Place.

The powerplay was denied another six times to run their stretch to 0-for-37 in their last seven games.

Some improvement was made in effort, but the execution of their man-advantage came up short again.

And so did the Flames in their attempt to lock up the division crown.

A win in regulation would have done just that.

"We wanted to finish it off tonight, and Luongo obviously felt differently," said Flames head coach Mike Keenan, who called the Canucks goalie their best penalty killer.

The Flames did a decent job of killing their own powerplay, though, with a combination of posts and wide-open misses.

"We had 50-goal scorers and 40-goal scorers rattle them off the post," said Keenan. "We hit three posts. One went through him and over the net.

"He had an incredible amount of energy, he played exceptionally well, but he had some good breaks, too."

Michael Cammalleri was one of those guilty of missing when Luongo was out of position.

During a five-on-three advantage early in the third period, he got the bead on a rebound and put it over the net.

"I didn't really see the rebound till the last second. It was right there, I just whacked at it," said Cammalleri.

"Roberto had just made a save so he was out of the net. There was no way for him to get back there. I think it just missed the net."

Their destiny still in their own hands with the tiebreaker over the Canucks in their favour and a pair of games to play against the Edmonton Oilers this week, the Flames say they're still confident they will get it done.

Powerplay failure is the one area of their game they appear to have none.

"It's hard to avoid a level of frustration. It's been the talk, and rightfully so," said Cammalleri. "We know the outcome it has in determining the outcome of a game."

In a game that looked lopsided in score and even more off balance statistically in the opposite direction, the Canucks potting a powerplay goal for a 3-1 lead was arguably the difference late in the third period.

"They weathered it, and they got a very important powerplay goal to make it 3-1 -- they capitalized on theirs," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who missed on a breakaway attempt when the pressure was on to tie things up.

Despite the Flames dominating all other aspects of the game, they fell behind late in the first period when Rick Rypien scored his third of the season on a bit of a broken play.He fanned on his first attempt on the rush with Iginla lifting his stick, but roofed the puck when he regained control.

Iginla tied things up briefly, tucking his 35th goal into a tiny gap between Luongo's skate and the post after a rebound hopped to him at the side of the net.

Just 22 seconds later, though, Mattias Ohlund scored his first of two goals to restore the Canucks lead.

His second came on the powerplay late in the third before Henrik Sedin iced it with his 21st of the season with two and a half minutes to play.

Hard to believe the way the game finished when you consider the great start the Flames had, rifling 21 shots at Luongo in the first period alone.

"We play like that, nine out of 10 times we win it," said Iginla. "It never feels good when you don't win it, but -- up until five minutes left in the game -- we played a great game. Two to one in shots, two to one in chances."


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