For the second straight meeting, the Calgary Flames out-played the Vancouver Canucks. For the second straight meeting between the two clubs, the Flames fell by a three-goal margin.
Despite out-shooting Vancouver 41-29 and edging them by a 38-32 margin in the face-off circle, the Canucks defeated the Flames 4-1 in the 250th meeting between the two franchises. Curtis Glencross had the lone goal for Calgary, featuring rookie Max Reinhart’s first NHL assist, while Alex Burrows, Maxim Lapierre, Mason Raymond and Daniel Sedin scored for Vancouver.
The game was tied at 1-1 through 40 minutes, with the Flames pulling well ahead on the shot clock during the third – they out-shot Vancouver 18-9 in the final period. However, a defensive miscue between the pairing of Chris Butler and Brett Carson allowed Maxim Lapierre to jam the puck home with just over 7 minutes left in regulation.
From there, the wheels fell off for the flickering Flames, with Vancouver scoring twice more to puck the game well out of reach. With the win, the Canucks take the season series with a 3-1-1 record in the five games between the clubs. Despite the loss, Flames head coach Bob Hartley found some positives following the game.
“The young players are coming in and they’re giving us some great minutes,” said Hartley. “They’re contributing, they’re skating hard. I think that we’re seeing great chemistry. The veterans are doing a great job with our young players. It’s too bad. I feel that the last four games, we could have come up with four wins. But a couple of little mistakes and we just can’t get a win.”
One mish-mashed line of old and new Flames that had an excellent outing against the Canucks was Roman Horak between wingers Mike Cammalleri and Sven Baertschi. The line generated several scoring chances, with 10 shots on goal generated by those three players. Following the game, Horak reflected on his experience playing with his new line-mates.
“Sven and Cammy are both great players,” said Horak, who won 69 percent of his face-offs on the night. “It’s easy to play with them. They share the puck and that’s what I like. They pass to me, I’ll pass them back. We were pretty good tonight, but we had 40 shots and one goal is not enough.”
Rookie Max Reinhart, playing in just his third NHL game, was arguably the best player on either team. In addition to setting up the game-opening goal, Reinhart had 5 shots on goal (only teammate Mikael Backlund had more for either team). Following the game, Hartley had a great deal of praise for his newest player.
“His compete level was great. He created a couple of chances on fore-checks,” said Hartley, noting that the opportunity available to the team’s younger players. “They got a feel on how we play and every day we remind them that it’s a great audition for them, to come in and have a chance to play.”
Following the game, Reinhart noted how good it felt to get his first NHL point under his belt.
“I think it was more of a relief at first, just finally getting one and getting it out of the way. It’s a special feeling, just kind of a proud feeling for kind of a selfish accomplishment and I’m pretty happy about it,” said Reinhart.
Already without defenseman Derek Smith and forwards Jiri Hudler, Brian McGrattan, Matt Stajan and Paul Byron, the Flames line-up took another blow early in the first period. Steve Begin was struck in the head with a puck and left the game, leaving Calgary with 11 skaters for the balance of the game. Hartley noted that Begin will be re-evaluated and then, presumably, the decision will be made on whether another youngster will be recalled from the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.