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Flames Smoke Vancouver Canucks 5-2, Playoffs Chances Smacked

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Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames
Matthew Tkachuk alone in front of Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko during the Flames 5-2 victory on Saturday night.

Calgary Flames 5, Vancouver Canucks 2

The Vancouver Canucks went almost six full periods without a goal, between Juho Lammikko’s at 12:10 of the 3rd period of the home game against the New Jersey Devils this past Tuesday and then Saturday night from Matthew Highmore at 7:37 of the third period against the Flames. Tough time of year to hit a goal scoring skid.

After giving up four goals on 29 shots, Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko was relieved by Jaroslav Halak after two periods; Halak’s first action since February 28th in New Jersey against the Devils.

Entering Action …

A number of Canucks consecutive point streaks went away with the 1-0 loss to the Red Wings on Thursday, including JT Miller’s 13-gamer.

— Still no Nils Höglander, missing his second consecutive game with a lower body injury.

— Yet another look for Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau’s lines as he seeks some chemistry among the forwards:

Tanner Pearson, JT MIller, Brock Boeser

Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Conor Garland

(The Bo-Petey line performed miserably out of sync’)

Vasily Podkolzin, Nic Petan, Alex Chiasson

Tyler Motte, Juho Lammikko, Matthew Highmore

Overwhelming Inferno

The Flames dominated the first period in establishing a 3-0 lead. The first four minutes were pretty even with continuous fast and physical play, but Calgary took over the offensive zone and the possession time for the remainder of the period. The score would have been worse if not for Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko. Shots were 16-4 in favour of the road team.

In the second, the Canucks came out with an amazing early shift that lasted more than 3 minutes in the offensive zone sandwiched around a Flames icing infraction. The pressure was relentless but Vancouver failed to light the lamp. Then, on literally the Flames first attempt up ice, Canucks D-man Tyler Myers fumbled a puck and Elias Lindholm scored to make it 4-0.

At this point it came down to whether or not Demko would last the rest of the night or if Jaroslav Halak would be forced to take over in relief. The Flames outshot the Canucks 13-10 in the second period.

Question answered: As noted at the top, Halak took over for Demko after two periods. The idea would be to start Demko Sunday in the tail end of the back-to-back against the Buffalo Sabres. The Canucks tallied in the third period to get on the board with a goal that had little impact on the final result. They’d add a late power play goal.

Goal Scorers

1st Period 1-0 Calgary – Noah Hanafin (6) – Calle Jarnkrok (4:45) Even Strength

1st Period 2-0 Calgary – Matthew Trachuk (29) – Mikael Backlund, Dillon Dube (7:46) Even Strength

1st Period 3-0 Calgary – Rasmus Andersson (3) – Matthew Tkachuk, Dillon Dube (13:51) Even Strength

2nd Period 4-0 Calgary – Elias Lindholm (31) – Tyler Toffoli (4:29) Even Strength

3rd Period 5-0 Calgary – Johnny Gaudreau (28) – Matthew Tkachuk, Rasmus Andersson (6:28) Power Play

3rd Period 5-1 Vancouver – Matthew Highmore (4) – Juho Lammikko, Brad Hunt (7:37) Even Strength

3rd Period 5-2 Vancouver – Brock Boeser (18) – Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes (17:14) Power Play

Special Teams

With just one minor infraction per side over the first 40-minutes of the hockey game, special teams didn’t play a part in determining the outcome. The Flames had taken care of business early on at even strength.

In the third period the Flames took advantage of a high sticking infraction by Brock Boeser. Johnny Gaudreau was the man who apparently got clipped and Gaudreau was the man who scored the power play goal.

The Canucks would add a too-little-too-late power play goal late in the third.

Playoff Scenario

With the loss the Canucks (67) now sit seven points behind the Edmonton Oilers, the third-place team in the Pacific Division, and five points behind the Vegas Golden Knights, the 2nd wild card playoff team in the Western Conference. The Vancouver Canucks have two games in hand on the Golden Knights and simply must win on Sunday vs. the Buffalo Sabres.

Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:

3) Luke Schenn – His hit on Matthew Tkachuk in the first period was probably the highlight of the period. Kept it simple.

2) Quinn Hughes – Did what he could in his usual efficient manner. Munched minutes. Finished with a team high time-on-ice and added an assist.

1) Thatcher Demko – Four goals on 29 shots doesn’t sound fabulous? It’s not of course, but his team got swamped and he made a series of tremendous saves.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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