Flames can’t figure out how to beat Canucks

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Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

The Calgary Flames struck first, but the Vancouver Canucks countered with 5 unanswered goals to win the second match of the season 5-1.

After a strong first period where the Flames kept the Canucks off the scoreboard by taking away time and space, Alex Tanguay gave the Flames a 1-0 lead with a bank-in goal off Roberto Luongo’s back at 18:34.

Kevin Bieksa tied the game 5 minutes into the 2nd period on a powerplay goal and Chris Higgins put the Canucks ahead with less than a minute remaining in the period.

The Flames showed up with a lack of energy in the 3rd period and allowed David Booth and Jannick Hansen to score two quick goals to give the Canucks a 4-1 lead. It seems that back-to-back games with a 1 hour flight in between were too much for the Flames as they failed to mount any sort of comeback in the third period. They eventually gave up a 5th and final goal to Daniel Sedin.

Of note in the game, other than the fact that the Canucks seem to continue to have the Flames’ number, was the number of times the goaltenders were run into. Jarome Iginla was assessed a goalie interference penalty after tipping a point shot and backing into Luongo about 2 feet outside the crease. It was really one of the weakest calls I’ve seen in a long time and ended up leading to the Canucks’ game-winning goal.

Later in the game Henrik Karlsson was injured as Cody Hodgson drove to the net and knocked down Tom Kostopolous, who smashed into Karlsson. Henrik left the game and was replaced by Miikka Kiprusoff.

A couple minutes after he took the ice, David Booth drove to the net and nailed Kipper. Booth was assessed a 2 minute penalty for goaltender interference and a scrum ensued. Booth’s drive to the net was nothing like Jordan Tootoo’s the other night, but it was a pretty solid hit. When compared to Jarome Iginla’s infraction, which was worth the same two minutes, it brings into question what the league is looking to do to protect the goalies.

It’s important to protect goalies, but with any rule changes or modifications there needs to be some consistency from the refs. Remember the death of clutch and grab hockey and how many soft hooking penalties were called the year after the lockout? It took a long time before the refs gained a level of consistency from game to game.

The two “running the goalie” penalties in this game were at opposite ends of the spectrum and indicate that the league said something to the refs after the Lucic-on-Miller hit. However, it appears as though the refs are having a hard time translating it onto the ice. It’s clear that protecting the goalies is forefront in the refs’ minds. But it’s also clear that they have some work to do to figure out what the threshold will be for calling a penalty.

What do you think?

About Greg Hounslow (558 Posts)

Greg is the founder of Red Mile Blog has been following the Flames through good times and bad since they arrived in Calgary in the early 80s. He has written hundreds of articles on the Flames since 2005 and considers himself an expert on hockey inconsistency and frustration. He shoots right and usually plays defence, but has been known to jump up in the rush. He is a 2-time CAHL men's league champion and knows the sweet taste of beer from a Cup.


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