One thing you won't find here today is a bunch of complaints about how the Canucks lost to the Flames. It is very hard to just dominate a team game after game. The Flames came off a solid game versus Detroit, and they finally won a game in Vancouver.
It happens. No team goes 82-0. The Flames were the better team in the first, they were outplayed in the second, and they scored 2 goals ( and an empty netter ) in a third period where they had barely any territorial play outside their own end. Without Leland Irving in the third, they would have lost. You and I both know the Sedins would have gotten at least one on Kipper. The new guy just confused them...
Observations and bullet points after the break.
NHL ( the NHL guy is asleep at the wheel with the clips, but there is some video here...)
- It sure started out like a typical Flames game huh? I like how Dale Weise and his line were on ( because I think that AV knew that was going to happen ), but Tom Kostopolous just went by him to his dance partner Kevin Bieksa. Juice won it early, but Kostopolous got a good one in late. I assume it was over something in a previous game, because thats what Cheech told me.
- Look, in the first period, our team did not show up that well, and the Flames did. They had a ton of chances then, and without Roberto Luongo, the team would have been out of it after 20 minutes. He robbed Bourque early with the glove, Byron on a break. Glencross on a rebound that he had no business saving. That was the first five minutes.
- The numbers after one period were ghastly. Well, the shot count. The Flames were ahead 13-6 in that very important stat. It was deserved. But they were down 12-8 on faceoffs to the Canucks. And in a period where they dominated, it was still the Canucks that had 15 hits to 13 for the visitors. But the first period was all Flames, as this was the game where the Christmas season looked to be catching up to the home team, as they just did not have their legs. Or hands. Passes were missing, plays not connecting, and everything that was coming easy in games before was not tonight.
- The reffing was again sort of atrocious, but whatever. It is what it is. With the young referees taking over from some of the vets that retired, it is going to happen until they get better. Hansen was dumped into the goalie on a race for an icing, and there was no call. Really? Even the commentators were like "WTF"? on that one. At least the Canucks actually had some PP time tonight. They didn't do much with it, but they had the time! Brendan Morrison got away with a hook that took away a goal chance ( on Lapierre ) in the late first period too. It was probably game management. Maybe they thought the Flames deserved better for being the better team in the first. Because that sure looked like the stick in the hands of a guy about to shoot a puck into an empty net!
- The second period was one in which the home team had their moments, but so did the visitors. It was the Canucks that were the better team in that period however. From the Sedin's ( who did not have their normal stellar game versus the Calgarians ), it was prevelant in an amazing pass from Hank while being knocked down that forced a great save from Leland Irving on Alexandre Burrows. It would be a precursor, as the man in his second NHL game was stellar when he had to be. He was greatly helped by his team getting in front of everything, collapsing to the net, and really selling out for him. The Flames had 9 blocks after two, but the Canucks had 10. It seemed the Flames got more sticks in passing lanes and tipped more pucks out than that. They did have 17 blocks to 10 for the Canucks at the end though.
- After two periods, the Canucks were still winning the faceoff battle (20-15), and the hits (23-21 ), but in both they recovered somewhat by the end of the game. ( 30-30 on hits, a 27-25 edge for the home team on draws ). For what it is worth, the hooking call on Bourque was a little weak. The high sticking call on hansen, I think there was a little contact, but the player ( Derek Smith ) did the most ridiculous and over the top embellishment I have seen this season. He chucked his stick high in the air, and put BOTH hands to his face like he must have been shot. There was a little contact Derek, but come on. Remember shit like that the next time some Flambe fan tries to tell you the Canucks embellish.
- The first goal for the Flames, I cannot blame Luongo at all. Dan Hamhuis was weak in the corner on Jarome Iginla, getting beat for an icing, but come on Bieksa. The whole arena could see Glencross alone in the slot but you, and Maxim Lapierre coming off the bench desperately was closer than you were. That it came at all though, when the Canucks should have had one at the other end was something for sure. Irving was lucky and good on that one!
- The second goal for the visitors, that one is on the goaltender. The other guys played that fairly weakly in their own end, but that one getting through him was a bad goal. Its the first one in weeks, so that is all I will say about that one.
- The push back form the Canucks was intense, but, again, there was not a whole ton of the supple passes and Harlem Globetrotter style of play that usually happens versus this team. That had something to do with how they played this one, but they should probably thank their young goalie. He was the difference in the third period for sure. (17-7 shots for the home team in the third )
- Again. On the empty netter that sealed the win, it was Irving. This time after a point shot bomb was saved, Daniel Sedin was flat out robbed on the rebound. It led to the puck getting out, and the Flambes actually had a win against Vancouver.
The sky is not falling. The goaltending, or anyone on the team, does not suddenly "suck". The coach is not a moron for not starting Ballard ( Sulzer was mainly fine ), nor is he crazy for trying to get a spark by shuffling Raymond to the third line and Hansen to the second. I think Andrew Ebbett had a pretty good game too. The fourth line had a couple of dominant territorial shifts. But it was not enough. The Flames were really, really desperate tonight, and they wanted this one more than the home team. They also got a great performance from their rookie goaltender in the third period. But they are not better than the home team. Just on this night. I have no problem with not winning every game, even though it niggles when you see them play not as well as you know they can. The lads are human, its Christmas, and in the spirit of giving, I am willing to just let this one go. Merry Xmas!
( lastly, my sincere apologies guys for not making it. If someone really wants the tale, they can email me. Honestly though, life got in the way, and at this time of year, that is not unusual. I look forward to seeing the pictures.)