November 2, 2011
Flames fall flat against Canucks
By STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
CALGARY - When Vancouver Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo first touched the puck, you couldn't decipher the boos from the Lous.
It was impossible to tell whether the mock cheers were coming from Calgary Flames fans or the frustrated Canucks faithful.
By the end of the first period Tuesday night, the same could be said for the reception given the Flames as they walked to the dressing room for the intermission.
With the score 3-0 in favour of the visitors, a spatter of boos rained down from the Saddledome crowd.
Another 20 minutes later, Flames fans couldn't even muster up enough care to bother booing. They just headed for the exits early to beat traffic.
Appropriate, since the team they came to watch didn't care enough to put up a fight against their previously struggling division rival.
With the Canucks and Flames both eager to get above the .500 mark on the season, only the Canucks looked desperate enough to accomplish it during their 5-1 victory.
"Tonight was a big letdown for us," Flames captain Jarome Iginla said afterward in a miserable locker-room. "And I know it was for our fans, too."
Granted, the hole got pretty deep fairly quickly after a decent start by the hosts.
Chris Higgins killed the momentum with a breakaway move that made Miikka Kiprusoff look like he was stuck in cement around the eight-minute mark.
But the Flames picked up shovels and helped dig, with three penalties resulting in a pair of powerplay goals for the Canucks to take a stranglehold before the first intermission, with Alex Burrows and Daniel Sedin both scoring.
Attempting to rally the troops, talk in the Flames dressing room was of scoring the next goal.
But just 3:47 into the second period, Cody Hodgson made it a four-goal gap with the Flames looking lost in their own end.
"It's disheartening when you get down 3-0," said Flames centre Brendan Morrison. "But we talked about it here at the end of the first. If we get the next goal, it's a game.
"Then we come out, have a couple of good shifts again. Boom, break-d own, they score again. "It's 4-0. It's done. It's over."
Both teams came in at .500, attempting to prove they were better than their early-season record indicated. After that stinker, it might be tough for the Flames to convince anyone of that fact right now.
"I'm stuck for words up here because it was not a good hockey game on our part, bottom line," Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. "They're a very good hockey team and we allowed it to be an easy game."
While the stars and supporting cast shined for the Canucks, everyone flickered for the Flames, who were led by their secondary scorers, only without the scoring.
Their shots leader through the first 40 minutes was ... Cory Sarich.
The defenceman's four shots were as many as the top line combined, right up until Alex Tanguay deflected Tom Kostopoulos' pass past Luongo in the dying seconds.
The Flames won't win any games playing the way they did in that one.
"We got outplayed all the way around, every part of the game," Iginla said. "We were bad tonight."
Worthy of the boos that no doubt would have pelted them after the buzzer -- if enough people stuck around to let them have it.