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Missing in the middle

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames
VANCOUVER -- The Calgary Flames were without two key centres just minutes into Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

No. 1 centre Daymond Langkow did not dress for the game as he returned to Calgary after his father-in-law passed away on Saturday night.

No. 2 centre Craig Conroy then suffered a torso injury after playing just 1:49 in Sunday's game.

The bulk of the centre duties then fell to players like Wayne Primeau, Stephane Yelle, Matthew Lombardi and Dustin Boyd.

Conroy will be re-evaluated Monday in Edmonton where the Flames will practice and prepare for a game Tuesday against the Oilers.

There was no immediate word on when Langkow will rejoin the team.

Meanwhile, Flames captain Jarome Iginla continues to look for goal No. 50 on the season. He had four shots on net Sunday against the Canucks but has been blanked in back-to-back games. Iginla did record an assist in the game.

Langkow's absence opened a roster spot for David Moss, who appeared in just his second game in 20.

He contributed right away as he re-directed a shot to give the Flames a 1-0 lead just 1:13 into the game.

The game ws tied 2-2 after the first period but the Canucks broke things open with three goals in the second period, including two from Canuck veteran Trevor Linden,

"We got some breaks around the net and captialized on them," said Linden.

The Flames play Edmonton Tuesday, Minnesota on Thursday and finish the regular season with another game in Vancouver on Saturday.

"We have some tough games coming up," said Flames defenceman Anders Eriksson. "We have to regroup. We have to put this one behind us. It wasn't very pretty. It wasn't a very good game at all."

The Flames sit with 90 points and occupy the seventh spot in the Western Conference. The Canucks are in eighth, just two points behind the Flames.

"We started the first period fine," noted Eriksson. "They were more determined than us and that showed in the second period. They were hungrier than we were."

The game featured plenty of hitting and even more pushing and shoving after the whistle -- a sign that the playoff race is down to the short strokes.

The Flames took 48 minutes in penalties while the Canucks were tagged with 32 pentlay minutes. Vancouver was 1-9 with the man advantage while Calgary was 1-7.

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