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MISSED CHANCE

Gulutzan says team's 'got to find a way to get it done' after tough loss to Canucks

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

Defeat by self-inflicted wounds.

"I thought the goals we gave,'' complained captain Mark Giordano softly in the aftermath, "were just exactly that - we gave them.

"Unnecessary mistakes and turnovers and they made us pay.

"You're not going to win many when you give up five.

"We've got to clean that up. I feel again too many chances off the rush where their late guys were getting looks. That's where I think we're giving up the most.

"I thought we controlled play, especially in the second period."

A killer shorthanded strike at a particularly sensitive moment near the end of the second period and rapid-fire incisions - goals 38 seconds apart in the third - condemned the Flames to a 5-3 head-scratching, streak-busting loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

"Today was a game of critical moments, critical saves," summed up an obviously frustrated Glen Gulutzan. "Up 3-2, two minutes left to go in the second period … I've repeated it a thousand times what it means to go into the third with a lead.

"We get a powerplay and give up a shortie, that's a tough one.

"Then we took a penalty I don't think we needed to take, didn't get it killed. Then we get a defenceman in there forechecking, trying to get it back. And they make a nice play to catch us: 5-3, game over.

"We gave up 12 chances tonight, which is low in the league. Two goals (allowed) on the powerplay. One bad pinch.

"I don't see any problem defensively. We just need to get better penalty-kills."

The third period unravelling began when defenceman Michael Stone was whistled off for a slight tug on Vancouver left-winger Thomas Vanek in the corner.

Stone gazed at the heavens in exasperation at the decision.

"No,'' he said afterwards, when asked if he could quite believe the call. "And I don't think the guy I supposedly (held) understood it, either. And he said that, so …"

Video: Gulutzan gives his analysis of loss to Canucks

While the Flames were smarting from Bo Horvat's go-ahead powerplay tally at 4:12 with Stone in the box, the Sedin twins - still capable of ruthlessness after all these years - broke out 2-on-1.

As a one-time assistant coach in Vancouver, Gulutzan has been witness to the duo's finishing touch often enough. Daniel, waiting that extra heartbeat to freeze Flames' goaltender Mike Smith, and then over to Henrik, at 4:50.

From there, Jacob Markstrom, outstanding the entire evening, slammed a deadbolt on the door.

The whole evening had a weird, swimming-upstream-against-the-current feel to it, starting early, when what would have been Sean Monahan's ninth snipe of the season was overturned on review due to an offside call less than six minutes in.

Calgary's late second-period opportunity to put the game on lockdown arrived at 18:04, when Vancouver d-man Alex Biega was incarcerated for holding and the Flames leading 3-2 on Micheal Ferland's fifth goal of the campaign.

But instead of plunging in the dagger and stretching their lead, the Flames fell asleep at the switch. Canucks' centre Brandon Sutter hounded TJ Brodie - skating back to retrieve the puck along the woodwork - into the corner to goaltender Mike Smith's left, got the puck and his hard centring pass glanced into the net off the right skate of the muckraking Derek Dorsett, making a beeline for the front of the net.

Instead of facing a potential 4-2 deficit heading into the closing 20, the Canucks were suddenly, shockingly, on even terms.

"Their goalie played well and we can play a little better defensively," reasoned Johnny Gaudreau, who scored his fourth goal and had Markstrom rob him on four other superb opportunities. "We get our chances we've got to find the net, starting with myself. I had a lot of Grade-A chances.

"We could easily have won that game if we cut down on a couple turnovers and a couple of odd-man rushes, leaving Smitty out to dry there."

In the aftermath of the loss, which ended an encouraging three-game run of success on Scotiabank Saddledome ice, Gulutzan refused to flat-out say his team deserved a better fate.

"You've gotta find a way. We've got to find a way to get it done.

"You'd like to get some points out of a game you played decently in but you didn't.

"That's the league.

"It's never easy."

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