Flames blew it early on

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:17 PM ET

  Make no mistake, the Calgary Flames didn't lose last night's game in overtime.

Yes, they coughed up the winner in the third extra frame but the game was lost in the hideous second period that saw the home side fall behind 4-0.

But in the first two extra sessions, the Flames had oh-so-many chances to complete the unlikeliest of comebacks before losing 5-4.

"We had our chances (in overtime) but we didn't lose it in overtime, we lost it in the first and early second period," offered defenceman Jordan Leopold.

"It's unacceptable.

"We got off to a really bad start -- give us credit for coming back -- but in a desperate win-the-series kind of game for us, it wasn't the start we wanted to get off to."

Ville Nieminen hit the crossbar in the extra session while Martin Gelinas was also thwarted on a breakaway by Canucks goalie Alex Auld's pokecheck.

"It tells you something about our hockey club, even if they weren't pretty goals," said Nieminen, who led all shooters with six shots on goal last night, including three in overtime.

Coach Darryl Sutter explained the OT chances, coupled with the injury of steady defenceman Denis Gauthier, led to several chances at both ends of the ice.

"You know as it goes on the efficiency level drops off for the guys that play a lot and I think those chances came from that," Sutter said. "I thought both defences looked like they ran out of gas and in the end that was the difference."

Gauthier left the game in the second period with an apparent leg injury and never returned.

His condition is considered day-to-day.


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