West Coast no-ffence

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:48 PM ET


 VANCOUVER -- Secondary scoring was supposed to be the Flames' bugaboo.

 That was certainly the case until Stephane Yelle, Chris Clark and Shean Donovan tallied in Tuesday's 4-0 win in Game 4.

 However, having a balanced scoring attack figured to be Vancouver's ace in the hole in this best-of-seven series.

 Through four games, however, that depth has been nowhere to be found.

 With the series tied at two heading into tonight's fifth match at GM Place, the Canucks' top line has come through as expected, as have the offensive contributions from defenceman Ed Jovanovski.

 From there, the dropoff is steep.

 The Sedin twins each have one point -- which came on the same goal, a ricochet that went in off Jordan Leopold's skate -- while Geoff Sanderson, Trevor Linden, Jarkko Ruutu, Brent Sopel, Mike Keane and Artem Chubarov have been blanked.

 "We knew it was going to be tight-checking, so we've got to find a way," Sanderson said yesterday.

 "I heard them say they had to get secondary scoring and they got it and won the game. That's what we need now."

 As amazing as it sounds, the tight-checking Flames hold the offensive edge through four games, having scored 10 goals to Vancouver's eight.

 The Canucks, you'll remember, were supposed to be the offensive juggernaut.

 "We probably just need to be more direct and more simple," Sanderson said.

 "We've got to get pucks on net. Maybe we're trying to make one too many passes in the offensive zone instead of getting the puck on net and getting a body there.

 "We've got to give them some credit. They've done a good job of pinning and shutting down any cycles or plays behind the net.

 "It's playoffs and we've got to find a way."

 A big part of the struggles has to do with Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who has rebounded after allowing five goals in the opener and now has a .914 save percentage.

 Calgary's young defence corps and defensive forwards have also done their job limiting chances. Still, some onus has to fall on the Canucks' offensive weapons.

 In Vancouver, the Sedin twins are taking their share of heat.

 Canucks head coach Marc Crawford wouldn't lay blame on the twins.

 "It's always been a case, when they score, they're the greatest thing since sliced bread and when they don't score, there's always questions as to whether or not they have that ability to compete at the National Hockey League level," Crawford said.

 "With Daniel and Henrik, one of the dynamics is they don't have that breakaway speed of a Geoff Sanderson or an Oleg Saprykin on the other side. They've developed chances, they're very consistent. The difference is execution."

 Especially during five-on-five play, when Canucks goals have been virtually non-existent.

 All five of Markus Naslund's points have come on the powerplay. Ditto for Jovanovski's three helpers and both scoresheet marks from Sami Salo and Martin Rucinsky.

 Six Vancouver goals have come with the man-advantage and another came with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker on a delayed penalty. They've lived with the powerplay and died without it.

 "It's been a very closely fought series and there hasn't been a lot of five-on-five chances either way," Crawford said.


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