Canucks stalled in seventh place: Penalties opened up game for Calgary after Vancouver's strong start
Ben Kuzma reviews Tuesday night’s game in Calgary:
In what can only be described as a meltdown of epic proportions, the Vancouver Canucks blew an early cushion on goals by Markus Naslund and Daniel Sedin
and fell 3-2 to the Calgary Flames because they were simply dominated in the final 40 minutes.
Physically, it was a mismatch with the Canucks being outhit 29-15. Mentally, it was even worse as the Canucks suffered massive brain cramps to open the door for the bitter setback.
With the Canucks nursing a 2-1 lead in the third period, successive penalties opened the door for the Flames to barge through and move atop the Northwest Division and keep the Canucks seventh in the Western Conference.
First, it was too many men on the ice at 8:10 of the final frame. Taylor Pyatt followed at 9:36 with a lazy trip on Jarome Iginla. And Alex Burrows followed up at 10:25 with a delay of game minor for taking the net off its moorings.
The result was a Daymond Langkow re-direct past Roberto Luongo
at 10:46 on a two-man advantage to make it 2-2, a Dion Phaneuf power-play slapper at 11:27 for the game winner and one disgusted coach in Alain Vigneault.
"To win in this league you have to play 60 minutes and we played 20," said the Canucks bench boss. "We knew they're a competitive team and would have a push in the second and that's where you expect your core group to show some composure and we weren't very good.
"You can't spend as much time in the box as we did there and expect to win."
The Burrows blunder and the too many men call were hard for Vigneault to stomach after his team held the Flames without a scoring chance in the first frame where they held a 21-7 shot advantage.
"It makes no sense," he said of the Burrows faux pas. "You take the net off and the referee is looking right at you. And too many men? Mo's [Brendan Morrison's] line is called up and Hank [Henrik Sedin
] steps on the ice. I have no idea what happened there."
While Burrows agreed than in hindsight he shouldn't have taken the net off, he didn't think he would draw a penalty.
"We just killed off a 5-on-3 and I didn't think I was going to get it," said the winger. "We kind of bumped and I followed through on the net."
The key was to not let up in the second period. Instead, the Flames struck quickly on a goal by Jarome Iginla and outshot the Canucks 18-3 in the frame.
"That's the first thing we talked about," said Morrison. "Let's continue to go after them and let's not sit on this lead. We said all the right things, but they made adjustments and we got on our heels a bit and start taking penalties and the momentum of the game completely shifted.”
Flames' best is simply too much
Ed Willes said the best of the Flames were too hot for the Canucks to handle:
As much as Mike Keenan likes to shroud his coaching philosophy in a fog of five-dollar words -- at his introductory news conference here he said: "Part of the persona of being a hard-nosed player that may be miscast is that replacing passion" and no, we have no idea what that means -- his standard operation procedure isn't exactly complex.
He identifies his best players. He plays the piddle out of them. If his team wins, they get the credit. If they lose, it's their fault.
Now, Keenan has always ridden his best players the way the Lone Ranger rode Silver, but his current Flames team is also uniquely designed to fit his MO. He has Jarome Iginla. He has Dion Phaneuf. He has Miikka Kiprusoff. The Flames go exactly as far as their stars carry them and on Tuesday they carried their team into first in the Northwest Division. The Canucks' best players, on the other hand, couldn't carry their team past the first period.
"It really was about our best players even before the second period," said Keenan shortly after the Flames' 3-2 win. "You have to have the goaltending [in Kiprusoff], we had to withstand the barrage of opportunities they had in the first period. Then it was about our best players being our best players and winning the game."
And putting the Canucks in an awkward position. "It's frustrating," said the Canucks' Trevor Linden. "It was a pretty disappointing performance the last two periods. It was really bad. Our forwards didn't do enough. Our defencemen played the whole second period in our end and we didn't do enough in the third to change the game." Then again, Iginla, Phaneuf and Kiprusoff didn't let them do enough to change the game.
The Canucks actually played a pitch-perfect first period in opening a 2-0 lead, outshooting the Flames 21-7 and, most importantly, keeping Iginla in a state of suspended animation over the first 20 minutes. But over the last two periods the Flames took over play to an almost illogical extent, outshooting the visitors 33-13 and eventually wrestling away the game on the power play midway through the third.
Iginla, of course, did most of the heavy lifting in the turnaround. The Flames captain played just 5:21 in the first period and failed to record a shot but finished with just under 23 minutes of ice time, seven shots, a goal in the second and an assist on Daymond Langkow's tying marker in the third.
Phaneuf, who finished with six shots, scored the winner just 41 seconds after Langkow's 5-on-3 goal when he blew a laser past an overworked Roberto Luongo
on another Flames power play.
THE VANCOUVER SUN
Luongo left in disbelief: Goalie's body language tells the story after team's woeful loss
Brad Ziemer said Roberto Luongo
was stunned after a disheartening loss: Roberto Luongo
chooses his words very carefully when speaking with the media these days, but his body language spoke volumes after Tuesday night's devastating 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.
After curtly answering a few quick questions, Luongo sat alone at his dressing-room stall staring into space. It was as if he couldn't believe what had just happened.
The Canucks blew a 2-0 lead and, despite some solid goaltending from Luongo, lost a game they looked to have in the bag after the first period.
"I wish I had the answer for you, but I don't," Luongo said when asked to explain the Canucks' disappearing act after the first period. "I just try to do my job out there and make saves. Obviously, I needed to make one extra save tonight to give our team a point."
The Flames won it when they scored two power-play goals -- one of them a 5-on-3 -- 41 seconds apart midway through the third.
"We took three straight penalties and they scored," he said. "Not much you can do about it. For me, I have to put it behind me and get ready for tomorrow night. It's obviously a big game for us."
The Canucks meet the Colorado Avalanche in Denver tonight. The Canucks and Avs are tied for seventh in the Western Conference.
Calgary's winning goal was scored by defenceman Dion Phaneuf, who beat Luongo short side with a shot from the top of the left circle.
"I don't think you'll see very often a guy beat me on a clean shot from there," Luongo said. "He has one of the hardest shots in the league and got all of it and put it in the right spot."
Still, no one was about to blame Luongo for this loss.
THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Call-up earns his keep for Moose: Derlago pots first two AHL goals as team extends long winning streak
Tim Campbell said rookie call-up Derlago is proving his worth:
The team's leading goal scorer [Jason Jaffray] is out a few more weeks with a shoulder injury but his understudy brought his teammates to their feet Tuesday night. Rookie pro Mark Derlago, called up from Bakersfield, Calif., (ECHL) pumped in his first two AHL goals in the second period to help spark the Moose to a 7-2 thrashing of the Lake Erie Monsters.
Derlago was thrust into a leading role upon his arrival last week. The 22-year-old Brandon native went straight to the team's No. 1 offensive line with Brad Moran and Jannik Hansen
and had assists in his first two games. He then figured prominently on Tuesday with goals at 59 seconds and 11:56 of the second period as the visitors pumped in seven straight to set a franchise record with their seventh straight road win.
"He's a lot like Jaff," Moose coach Scott Arniel said of Derlago after the Moose ripped off their ninth straight win. "He's not experienced like Jaff and he's got some things to learn being at this level but he goes to those (get-dirty) areas.
"... He's not going to score goals from 50 feet out. He'll be five or 10 feet away. He had a couple of real good deflections tonight, too. He's got a real good stick and a good pair of hands."