After sustained pressure throughout much of the first period, Curtis Glencross would score his 15th goal of the season to put the Flames up 1-0 with less than four minutes remaining in the opening frame, assisted by rookie Max Reinhart for his first ever NHL point. However, the Canucks would wake up soon after, and hemmed the Flames in the own zone for much of the remainder of the period. Alex Burrows got credit for a strange one that at first appeared to bounce into the net off of his knee and was vehemently disallowed by the referee behind the net, but after further review, it was decided that it had been tapped into the side of the net by the stick of a Canucks player, I think it might have been Daniel Sedin but I could be mistaken. It was one of those slippery bastards on that line. The score was 1-1 after the first period.
That goal with two and a half minutes left in the period was just the beginning of the Flames' bad luck.
After the Canucks were buzzing to start the period, the home team was gifted several powerplays in the middle frame, but could not put any pucks past last-minute starter Roberto Luongo.
The third period was much of the same. The Flames killed off an early delay of game penalty to Mark Giordano and were out-shooting the Canucks 8-2 early on in the final frame, but with just over eight minutes remaining in the tied contest, things began to unravel.
First, a scramble in front of the Flames' net resulted in a puck fumble by Miikka Kiprusoff which Maxim Lapierre promptly scooped up and deposited into the Flames' net to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead. Shortly after, Vancouver continued to apply pressure. After several Canucks shots that resulted in large rebounds which the Flames' defenders failed to clear from the front of the net, Mason Raymond was left untouched and able to swat the puck out of mid air and past a helpless Kiprusoff. To cap off the scoring, Daniel Sedin scored a powerplay marker after Giordano hooked Raymond on a breakaway.
Another frustrating game for fans of the Flames, to be sure, but the kids had another good showing. Reinhart had an excellent game. He had five shots on goal (the second highest total on the team after Mikael Backlund), had several takeaways/interceptions in the offensive and defensive zone, drew a penalty and played nearly two minutes on the penalty kill. He played some of the game with Mike Cammalleri and Tim Jackman, and seemed to look more comfortable than he did in Vancouver on Saturday, perhaps because it was his first home game with the Flames. He was definitely one of the most noticeable Flames players on the ice last night, and I look forward to watching him develop into a useful NHLer if he continues to play this way.
Roman Horak and Sven Baertschi also had nice games, with four and three shots on net respectively. Both consistently pounced on opportunities in the opposing end and spent over two minutes each on the powerplay. Baertschi fumbled the puck once or twice in the defensive zone, but that's to be expected. He took quite a few hits both in last night's game and in Colorado and he doesn't appear to be shying away from physical contact which is good to see. TJ Brodie also played really well last night. He led all Flames players in ice time with 26 minutes and was a force all over the ice at even strength and on special teams. The Flames didn't make life easy on themselves defensively, giving up a few odd man rushes due to their inability to hold the blueline in Vancouver's zone, but Brodie was nonetheless a steadying presence on the back end.
With the Colorado Avalanche's win last night, the Flames are now tied for second-last in the league with the Florida Panthers and continue #notwinninforMacKinnon or #suckingforseth, or whatever the current flavour of the week is.
The Flames are at home against the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow night.
An in-depth look at John Gaudreau and possible NHL comparisons [Flames Nation]