The Flames take the ice for the final time this season Saturday night as they face the team they couldn’t catch for the Northwest Division crown in a visit to Vancouver.
The Canucks (48-28-5) are locked into the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, having won a second straight division title and fourth in six years, though it’s unclear who their first-round opponent will be.
It was Vancouver’s 4-3 shootout loss to Colorado on Tuesday that officially eliminated Calgary (40-31-10) from playoff contention, with the Avalanche wrapping up the West’s final postseason berth. The Flames would have stayed alive if they hadn’t lost 2-1 to San Jose earlier that night, though they also fell 2-1 in a shootout to Minnesota on Thursday.
Calgary wasted a 5-on-3 power play in the third period en route to its third straight defeat.
“That’s kind of been the story of late, getting a lot of opportunities and a lot of shots and just not being able to find the back of the net,” said Nigel Dawes(notes), who assisted on the tying goal in the second period. “That’s probably one of the bigger reasons why we’re in the position we’re in today.”
The Flames, who last won a division crown four years ago, will finish with their worst record since 2002-03 - also the last time they failed to make the playoffs.
However, Calgary could win the season series with its division rival, having won three of the first five meetings. The two most recent matchups were in Vancouver, with the Flames winning 3-2 in a shootout on Jan. 9 before the Canucks won 3-1 on March 14.
Henrik Sedin(notes) has two goals and five assists in the season series, and he may need a big game to help his chances of becoming the first Vancouver player to win the scoring title. He enters the weekend with 108 points, including 12 in the last eight games, but is in a close battle with Alexander Ovechkin.
Sedin has 79 assists and should finish as the league leader.
“The cards weren’t completely aligned for us tonight,” goalie Andrew Raycroft(notes) said. “We’re a little short on the back end and we were trying not to get hurt. We could have mailed it in but the guys kept battling.”
If Luongo is back in net, he will have a chance to finish with 40 victories for the second time in his career and first since he won 47 in 2006-07. He’s lost five of his past seven starts while posting a 3.49 goals-against average.
Counterpart Miikka Kiprusoff(notes) has a 1.79 GAA in his last five games and is among the league leaders at 2.25, but he enters with 35 wins and will finish with his fewest in five seasons as Calgary’s No. 1 netminder.