Refs Duped Again – Dive by Johnson – No Call in OT Hand Canucks Win

To get the season started the league pitted two division rivals against each other back-to-back. Smart move, what better way to renew hatred and heated debates? Fresh off their worst season opening game ever, the Calgary Flames made their home opener debut seeking retribution.

With less fanfare than the Vancouver home opener, Calgary got underway with a renewed emphasis on hard hitting forechecking and puck pursuit. However, despite a semi-raucous crowd Vancouver drew first blood which made Flames fans wonder if they were about to witness another debacle. One of the Sedin sisters walked out in front and scored the first goal to put Vancouver up.

Unlikely sources of inspiration came in response. Rather than using his fists, Andre Roy was left wide open in the slot and wired a slapper through the five-hole of Luongo. That was the spark Calgary would need, what ensued was two more goals in less than two minutes from Bertuzzi and Bourque. Perhaps a reversal of fortunes in the Flames favour this time? Iginla wanted to continue the fortunes by dropping the gloves with Mitchell in a spirited affair.

Second period: Both teams came out with speed and fists in the second period. Both Roy and Prust stood up and got beat up. (Is Roy another Mccarty just a bit bigger? He left the game with an arm injury after his tussle but returned in the second.) Calgary slowly abandoned their intense forechecking game after a few powerplay opportunities that spent its time on the perimeter, Vancouver took advantage by moving their feet.

Poor offensive defensive coverage (make sense) coupled with some shaky goaltending and Calgary saw a two goal lead fizzle in 1:01. The Flames looked like the team out of Vancouver where rookie D men were victimized and Vancouver forwards were allowed to sit in front of the net unpunished and untouched.

It seems this year Calgary needs to figure out their special team play because powerplays dwinddle the momentum. Too early to tell I suppose. However, 5v5 play is where Calgary finds their feet, rushing up ice with–yet again–their forechecking. After a long chance by Vancouver Dion Phaneuf was able to catch Rene Borque with a stretch pass. A quick move to the inside and a rebound to the stick of Mike Cammalleri for his first as a Flames.

Third period began with less emotion but more questions on Calgary’s defensive play. Both forwards and D men are losing their men in front of the net, something that can be fixed but shouldn’t be an issue for a ‘defensive team’ like Calgary. Sedin yet again was left alone in front to collect a pass and tie the game.

Calgary received their sixth powerplay of the game with seven minutes left yet their inability to get pucks to the net prevented any sort of opportunity (0 on 6). Vancouver got their change off a horrific call after an unreal dive by Johnson. The powerplay would, after the final buzzer, spill over into the over-time period. An un-easy 30 seconds elapsed as Calgary managed to kill the Bertuzzi penalty.

With a minute left Burrows makes a clear trip that should have been called (being a homer? unlikely, an opportunity was taken away and no call.) On the ensuing rush (off a Cammalleri giveaway) Burrows broke in on a 2v1 and connected with Pavol Demitra for the OT win for Vancouver.

Another handed win to Vancouver courtesy of the refs. The cause of Calgary’s loss? No not really, a definite help, but Calgary shot themselves in the foot with their terrible D zone coverage in front of the net. If they can fix that then they’ll have a chance to win some games.

Notes: Marc Crawford again on the colour. Dude makes up words doesn’t he? Girodano continues his difficulties adjusting to NHL defensive play. Mike Cammalleri who’s supposed to add goal scoring couldn’t even play on the second line. He was used for less than 11 minutes all game.