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Flames stumble in season opener against Vancouver

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames got the start they wanted. The remaining 50 minutes left something to be desired, though.

It’s left a lot to be improved, too, suggested captain Mark Giordano.

“That was probably as bad as we can get out there,” said Giordano, still stinging from the 5-1 loss against the Vancouver Canucks in what doubles as both Calgary’s season and home opener Wednesday. “We turned over a lot of pucks. We were making poor decisions and they made us pay. They played a solid game and they played the right way and that's why they beat us that badly.

“We came out and for the first 10 and we were fine. We were really guilty tonight of turning the puck over a lot and not playing our system at all really.”

The first 10 minutes featured bouts between Derek Dorsett and Micheal Ferland just moments after puck drop, and an encore between Brandon Prust and Brandon Bollig.

It featured signs of the Flames team that dispatched of the Canucks in six games of the Western Conference First Round series last April.

The other two and a half periods did not.

“It was a lot of things,” defenceman Kris Russell said. “Tonight I don't think there was one thing that you can say that's what cost us the game.

“We were poor in our own zone, our transition game wasn't there. I thought our neutral zone wasn't good at all. We had a lot of turnovers. Our forechecking never really got going. We never really made it hard for miller and we gave them too much room. They got goals on our mistakes and they're a good team and they're going to do that. You allow a team like that with that much skill 44 shots, it's not good enough.”

Karri Ramo, under siege, finished with 39 saves in the losing effort.

“We played a game that was totally out of character for us,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. “The effort was there, but it felt like we were not smart enough in our approach.”

The loss extends the NHL's longest active losing streak in season openers (0-5-1). Calgary hasn't started with a victory since Oct. 1, 2009, against Vancouver and is 12-20-10-2 all time in its first game of the season.

Wednesday’s outing didn’t correct that.

“There's no excuse for it,” Russell said. “We had a training camp, just like they had a training camp so there's absolutely no excuses. We weren't ready to play.

“Our first 10 was alright, I thought we dictated the play and we came out, we had some energy but after that, they turned it around and dictated the play. They got pucks deep on us, they out-executed us, outworked us, and they embarrassed us in our home opener.”

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