Under Bruce Boudreau, the Vancouver Canucks have been able to dust themselves off after a poor showing. Tonight however, they just happened to dig themselves into a hole from the drop of the puck. Playing in back-to-back nights, the Flames showed no signs of fatigue, while Boudreau’s troops struggled to keep pace.
With both teams splitting the first two games of the series and looking to bounce back after a shutout showing, the stage was set for what could have been a competitive matchup. However, the game was etched in stone after the first 20 minutes of play.
Surely not the outcome the Canucks wanted with less than 48 hours until the Trade Deadline. Fans have to wonder where management stands in the face of two difficult defeats, with the Canucks now five points back of a playoff spot.
Buried by three
Calgary was quick to make Canucks fans forget about their 7-1 victory, testing Thatcher Demko early and often with high slot tip shots before penetrating and crashing the front of the net.
And they didn’t hesitate to slow down for a second. Demko, who had a .929 save percentage at home, calmly turned aside a 2 on 0, before the floodgates opened.
Calgary defenseman Noah Hanifan got the away team on the board first, after being set up with a stretch pass from newcomer Calle Jarnkrok. Hanifan made no mistake finding the net short side after a Canucks change had left plenty of time and space on Demko’s right side.
All period Calgary found success aggressively pressing on the Canucks and turning pucks over to fire at the net. It also didn’t help that the Canucks were still dead set on relying on Demko to bail them out.
The four Vancouver shots of the period came from just about anywhere but the front of the net. This also isn’t the first night the team has looked rather lackluster. Vancouver is now 1-3-1 in their last five. If they have any dwindling hope to make the playoffs, they have to be hungrier – the job is far from over.
The Flames’ relentless pressure resulted in yet another tally after a turnover by Myers kept the puck in the Vancouver zone. After having a few shots in tight against Demko, Matthew Tkachuk once more found the stick on his puck after Mikael Backlund won a battle on the board. Yet another case of what Boudreau referred to as the casual Canucks in their last loss.
On what finally was the best chance of the period for the Canucks, other than the Flames missing a wide-open net, was a Pettersson chance that didn’t even hit the net.
To add insult to injury, the Flames carried the puck back right after and yet another defenceman – this time, Rasmus Andersson fired it home.
In a single period, the Canucks had allowed more than their game average of 2.82 goals. With the forwards having nothing to show for, and Demko heavily under siege, the home team left the ice down with what felt like an unclimbable three-goal deficit.