Blame it on the travel if you must. The Canucks fell to a Northwest division opponent for the first time in regulation this season on Monday night with a 4-2 loss to the Flames.
In an ironic twist, the Vancouver Canucks arrived in Calgary for their matchup against the Flames on Monday night late due to heavy snowfall. The team didn't even leave Vancouver until the early afternoon, just about four hours before the puck was set to drop. The rushed schedule played a toll on the Canucks, as they fell to the Flames 4-2, their first regulation loss of the season against a Northwest division opponent.
Despite being fresh off the plane, the Canucks opened the scoring at 7:49 with a breakaway goal from Chris Higgins that was set up by Jannik Hansen. The play started with Steve Begin trying to dump the puck in out from the blue line, but the pass was accidentally blocked by teammate Dennis Wideman. Hansen tapped the loose puck out to Higgens, who beat Daniel Taylor for his sixth goal of the season to give Vancouver the early 1-0 lead.
Mason Raymond nearly extended the Vancouver lead at 9:09, but the puck deflected off the crossbar, keeping the game at 1-0. At 15:44, Mike Cammalleri tied the game with a wrist shot that deflected off the glove of Roberto Luongo into the back of the net.
At 2:36 in the second period, Jannik Hansen earned his second point of the night, this time scoring a rebound goal to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead. The teams would continue to trade goals as the Flames would tie it up less than four minutes later off a goal from Lee Stempniak. The goal was set up by a perfect centering pass from Matt Stajan, who found Stempniak floating towards the net for the shot.
Then in the third, with just seconds left on the Flames power play, Jarome Iginla set up the go-ahead goal for Juri Hudler to give the Flames a 3-2 lead at 12:35. Technically, the penalty had just expired, so Calgary was not credited with a power play goal.
With less than two and a half minutes to go, Henrik Sedin got the puck to Alex Burrows, who tried to bring it around to the front of the net and jam it in. Daniel Taylor stood his ground though, preserving the Calgary lead. With 22.3 seconds left, Mike Cammalleri put the nail in the coffin with an empty net goal, as the Flames went on to win 4-2.
The Canucks head back home to Vancouver to take on the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm PST before hitting the road for three games to face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, followed by the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, and back to Columbus once more next Tuesday.
Playing the Blue Jackets twice in three games? The hockey gods are being good to us this next week.