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Title - Liam Carter
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Follow Me on TwitterLiam Carter is the Calgary Flames' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. He is an avid hockey fan who loves his Flames! If you have questions or wish to contact Liam, you can email him at lcarter@ourhometown.ca
Canucks cruise to a 5-1 home victory over fatigued Flames
Liam Carter
OurHometown.ca

Canucks cruise to a 5-1 home victory over fatigued Flames
A third game in four nights ultimately proved to be too much for the Calgary Flames to overcome as they ran out of gas in the late stages of the game Sunday night in Vancouver. Five straight goals by the home team helped stumble the flames as they dropped there 13th regulation loss of the season.
PHOTO CREDIT - CalgaryFlames.com

Calgary - December 5, 2011 - A third game in four nights ultimately proved to be too much for the Flames to overcome as they ran out of gas in the late stages of the game Sunday night in Vancouver. Five straight goals by the home team helped stumble the flames as they dropped there 13th regulation loss of the season.

Unlike the past few road games, Calgary was able to keep the home crowd out of the game early as they collectively stymied the lethal transition game of the Canucks in the opening period of the game. They played so well in fact that head coach Brent Sutter said after the game that he believed it was the team’s best period of hockey all season. The Flames opened the scoring late in the first, as Alex Tanguay threw the puck from behind the net and managed to bank it off of the back of Roberto Luongo. The only area of concern to me was Vancouver’s ability to physically dominate the tone off the game for the entirety of the period. This was made apparent to everyone watching the game, when Canucks forward Ryan Kesler absolutely steam rolled Flames newcomer Blake Comeau on the side boards.

The start of the second frame marked the beginning of the end for the Flames on this night, as they consistently found themselves chasing the puck. As the game wore on the Flames lost sight of the game plan, and allowed the Canucks the ability to dictate the pace of the game. As a result of this, Kevin Bieska tied the score as he pin balled a shot from the point that snuck by Henrik Karlsson. Despite being drastically outplayed the Flames managed to hang in the game until the final minute of the period. A poor coaching decision to ice the fourth line with less than a minute to play in the period resulted in an absolutely deflating goal that saw former Flame Chris Higgins score his 8th of the season.

From that moment on the flood gates opened, as the quick strike offense of the Canucks took full advantage of the lackadaisical play from every member of the team. David Booth, Jannik Hansen and Daniel Sedin all scored within the first five minutes of the final frame to distinguish any hopes of a second consecutive third period comeback for the Flames. To make things worse, Henrik Karlsson was later forced to leave the game after Tom Kostopoulos blew a tire on the back check and bulldozed directly into his own goaltender. Miikka Kiprusoff was forced off of the bench and directly into game action as a result of the injury. It did not take him long to get acquainted with the Canucks, as David Booth carelessly ran over Kiprusoff as he drove to the net. To cap the night off Flames forward Matt Stajan shockingly found himself in a bout with super pest Maxim Lapierre, both players we handed a game misconduct for their actions and were sent to the dressing rooms early.

I personally have an issue with a couple of decisions the coaching staff has made this past weekend. Firstly I don’t understand why a career AHL journeymen defenseman in Joe Piskula is getting the nod to play over a Stanley cup veteran in Corey Sarich. I understand that as an organization you would want to reward players on your affiliate minor league team with the opportunity to play at a NHL level, but you must always ice the roster that gives you the best chance at winning on a nightly basis. Cory Sarich may not be the player he once was, but he is certainly a serviceable physical presence on the back end that will add a heck of a lot more to the team then a 10 minute a night stop gap. Secondly I would have much rather preferred they play Henrik Karlsson against the inferior Edmonton Oilers as opposed to a team that we have struggled immensely against the past few seasons (Vancouver). The more he plays, the more my faith in Karlsson diminishes. In twenty games at an NHL level Henrik Karlsson has just four wins, and although the losses may not be squarely on his shoulders he certainly has not done enough to inspire the confidence of his teammates. I think its about time that we see 23 year old former first round pick Leland Irving get an opportunity at the NHL level. He has certainly put his time into the organization and has played some incredible hockey for the Abbotsford Heat for the past two seasons.

Game Day Notes

  • Vancouver outshoots Calgary by a 36-22 margin on the night.

  • Mason Raymond played his first game since suffering a severe neck injury in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins.

  • Goaltender Roberto Luongo made just his second start since November 11th, after he spent 7 straight games as the backup to Cory Schneider.

  • Calgary has only one once in their last six trips to Vancouver.

  • Daniel Sedin extends his point streak against the Flames to 15 games.

  • Both Rene Bourque and Alex Tanguay extend there point streaks to three games.

  • Flames have assigned former Calgary Hitmen Brett Carson to their AHL affiliate Abbotsford Heat for a twenty day conditioning as he returns from a shoulder injury he suffered in the offseason.


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