Calgary Flames defenceman Noah Hanifin scores against Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko  in the first period at Rogers Arena March 19.

All season the Vancouver Canucks’ players have talked about needing to start better.

They’ve repeatedly brought it up because they have struggled early in games. Two head coaches have struggled to explain why.

The Canucks struggling out of the gate has ceased to be a surprise.

It was no different on Saturday night at Rogers Arena as the visiting Calgary Flames scored early and often in the first period on the way to a 5-2 win over the Canucks.

The Flames had played Friday in Calgary, losing 1-0 in overtime to the Buffalo Sabres but looked fresh coming out of the gates.

They scored twice in the opening 7:46 and outshot the home team 9-3. The Canucks ended the period on just four shots, all four coming from defencemen.

Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau was steaming after Thursday’s 1-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, calling his team’s first period effort that night the worst of the season.

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