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Game 40: Another costly win

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks emerged Sunday from their holiday break as victors squeaking out a 2-0 win over Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome but had to watch another teammate join the list of walking wounded.

Jannik Hansen's breakaway goal with 39.7 seconds left in the opening period proved to be the eventual game-winner as Vancouver extended their win streak to three games. Mike Santorelli also scored for the Canucks, who improved their overall season record to 23-11-6.

Hansen's goal, unfortunately for the Canucks, was not the only noteworthy moment of the opening stanza.

The game was less than three minutes old when Flames' forward Brian McGrattan took a run at defenceman Andrew Alberts along the side boards hitting the Canucks' defenceman in the head with an elbow that left him laying prone on the ice for several seconds.

Alberts managed to leave the game under his own power but would not return.

Vancouver is already missing defencemen Alex Edler and Ryan Stanton, along with forwards Alex Burrows and Jordan Schroeder and goaltender Roberto Luongo all due to injury.

Eddie Lack, in his first appearance as the Canucks' interim number one netminder with Luongo on the shelf, was perfect stopping all 18 shots he faced for his second career shutout.

Reto Berra turned aside 28 of 30 shots in the loss for the Flames.

The Canucks are back in action tomorrow night when they host the Philadelphia Flyers in their final game of the 2013 calendar year.

Given the number of games the Canucks and Flames tend to play each season, it's a bit surprising that tonight's shutout by Eddie Lack was the first for Vancouver over Calgary in over five years. Roberto Luongo had the last Canucks' shutout of the Flames way back on October 9, 2008 – a 6-0 Vancouver win in their season-opener that year. The Flames, with their second straight shutout defeat tonight, have not scored in 125:05 of consecutive playing time dating back to December 23.

ANOTHER D-MAN DOWN: Andrew Alberts lasted just 51 seconds before being knocked out of the game by Flames' tough guy Brian McGrattan. With the Canucks in action again tomorrow night, don't be surprised if a Utica call-up is in the cards with Vancouver having less than six healthy blue-liners if Alberts is unavailable. Alex Edler and Ryan Stanton are both currently on injured reserve. The Canucks have used eight different defencemen this season.

NOTES AND NUMBERS: Canucks' captain Henrik Sedin appeared in his 669th consecutive game. It’s a streak that was somewhat in doubt after Henrik was struck in the ear by a puck during the pre-game warm-up but he managed to get patched up to play... The Canucks extended their win streak at the Scotiabank Saddledome to three games... Mike Santorelli snapped a seven-game goal drought with his third period tally while Ryan Kesler four-game point drought with his assist on that goal... Jannik Hansen snapped a three-game goal and point drought with his tally... The Canucks win was their 10th of the month, one win shy of the team record for December.

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