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Flames power play stalls in season opener

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

You just make your life miserable and especially on a home opener with the fans already on their feet and they're just waiting to light the barn on fire but we couldn't.Bob Hartley

CALGARY, AB -- With a sellout crowd of 19,289 on their feet for an early 5-on-3 man advantage, the Calgary Flames power play sputtered. It cost them.

Shortly after Kevin Bieksa’s minor for interference and Chris Higgins’ delay-of-game penalty expired, the Vancouver Canucks found themselves on the better end of special teams and converted just eight seconds into a Paul Byron hooking call.

The Flames couldn’t respond.

“We had an early power play, a 5-on-3, you don't score on those, you just make your life miserable and especially on a home opener with the fans already on their feet and they're just waiting to light the barn on fire but we couldn't,” coach Bob Hartley said. “Not only did we not score, but after this, I felt we lost the momentum for basically the first 40 minutes. We were not very good in our zone, way too many missed assignments.”

Alexandre Burrows put the Canucks on the board, tipping a Dan Hamhuis point shot behind a screened Jonas Hiller. Though the Flames managed to pull even when Byron converted in the second period, the Canucks ended up taking an eighth-straight game from the Flames, and fifth on Scotiabank Saddledome ice in Calgary’s season and home opener.

“You have to score on those ones when there's a minute of 5-on-3 time, you have to find a way,” said Giordano, whose Flames squandered the 64 seconds away. We get the lead there if we score. We have to sharpen up and want the puck and everyone has to want to be the guy that scores a goal.”

There’s little time to let the loss weigh down Calgary, though.

The Flames have to rebound Thursday night in an attempt to spoil the Edmonton Oilers’ home opener, which will also serve to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their first Stanley Cup Championship.

“Obviously, we wanted to win in front of our fans here and get a better start,” forward Mikael Backlund aid. “Losing is frustrating but we have a quick turnaround and we’ll have to regroup and come back (Thursday).”

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