Flames fall to Canucks in penultimate game of season

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One game left. Three periods. Sixty minutes.

The Calgary Flames can see the finish line. It might not have been the finish line they wanted to be racing towards at the start of the season, but they’ll stumble across it on Thursday night in their game against the San Jose Sharks at the Saddledome.

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The focus will immediately shift to building to the future and whatever potential can be unlocked in June’s draft and whether GM Craig Conroy will be a player in free agency.

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With that in mind, it’s hard to get too upset about the Flames falling 4-1 to the host Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.

The Canucks clinched first place in the Pacific Division and could still finish atop the Western Conference. The Flames will start their long summer vacation on Thursday night.

The Flames made a push in the third period after Brayden Pachal scored to make it 3-1, but it didn’t amount to much. The Canucks are just a better team with more to play for right now.

“We’ve been in that situation, too, it’s never an easy situation,” said Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson. “They‘re playing for the division and we have nothing to play for, so obviously they’re going to sit back a little bit and we’re going to push, that’s just the way the game goes sometimes. I thought they did a good job of holding us away from their net.”

It’s felt like it’s been a long season for the Flames, who stayed in the playoff hunt until the trade deadline but ultimately couldn’t compete after their first-line centre and three of their top-six defencemen were traded away.

The guys in the locker-room have put on a brave face and kept working, but it hasn’t been an easy campaign.

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Now, everyone just needs to get through 60 more minutes and then the focus will shift towards building towards something better.

Calgary Flames defenceman Oliver Kylington is pursued by Vancouver Canucks forward Vasily Podkolzin at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Photo by Derek Cain /Getty Images


Tuesday’s game against the Canucks marked the 200th of Oliver Kylington’s NHL career. That feels like it’s worth acknowledging for any player, but especially for a guy like Kylington who had to overcome a lot to return to the ice after taking more than a season off to take care of his mental health … It never spun of control in any meaningful way, but things definitely got chippy on Tuesday night in Vancouver. The most notable bit of fisticuffs came near the end of the second period when Nils Hoglander gave Brayden Pachal a good little shot in his upper chest with his stick. It was initially ruled a major, but was cut down to two minutes after the refs got a better look at the replay. “I’m lucky he’s kinda 5-foot-3, he would’ve got me in the face otherwise,” Pachal joked when he was asked about the incident. Guys from both sides came to their teammates’ defences, with Adam Klapka and Conor Garland both earning misconducts … While it never really felt like the Flames were going to mount a heroic comeback, there were a couple moments that might have changed the momentum. Jonathan Huberdeau looked like he’d scored early in the third period and the puck was past Thatcher Demko, but Quinn Hughes popped up to clear it off the line at the last possible second. It was a heads-up play from a guy who might very well be the best defenceman in the NHL this season.

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