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Game 66: Fire Fighters

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
There were no fights to start off Saturday's tilt but, by the end of the night, the Canucks definitely showed they still had some fight left in them.

Yannick Weber's third goal of the season scored exactly five minutes into the third period snapped a 1-1 tie and stood up as the game-winner as the Canucks earned a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the Flames at Rogers Arena.

The loss snapped a four-game winless skid for the Canucks and was just their second victory in their last 13 games.

Weber was the benefactor of a strong drive to the net by newcomer Shawn Matthias as he managed to bat in a rebound that had come off the pads of Flames' netminder Joni Ortio after Matthias' shot attempt then bounced off the stick of David Booth before making its way to Weber.

While a win over the woeful Flames might not be much to crow about, you'd have to give credit to the Canucks for the way they battled back in a game they easily could have written off as being yet another "one of those nights."

After a scoreless opening period, the Flames opened the scoring in surreal fashion with Brian McGrattan beating Eddie Lack with a slap shot from centre ice near the team benches at the 2:13 mark of the middle frame.

Vancouver, however, would find the equalizer just three-and-a-half minutes later with Darren Archibald tallying his first career NHL goal by stuffing the puck past Ortio on a wraparound.

When it comes to battlers in this game, however, no Canuck showed more moxie than their goaltender, Lack.

Lack, making his first home start since the departure of Roberto Luongo, was not only coming off being pulled in his previous outing on Thursday in Dallas but also had to collect himself after giving up the centre ice marker to McGrattan.

He bounced back nicely, however, shutting the door the rest of the way after the centre ice gaffe making several key saves including a scintillating stop off Joe Colborne on a 2-on-1 set-up perfectly by Mikael Backlund midway through the second period to lead his team to a much-needed victory.

He finished the night with 22 saves on 23 shots for his 10th win of the season and earned First Star honours for his heroics.

Ortio stopped 12 of 14 shots in the loss for Calgary.

The Canucks conclude their short two-game home stand on Monday when they host Michael Grabner and the New York Islanders.

The Canucks improved to 4-0-0 in the season series against the Flames... Shawn Matthias recorded his first point as a Canuck with an assist on Yannick Weber's game winner... Weber's goal was his first-career NHL game-winner... Nicklas Jensen made his season-debut for Vancouver finishing with 16:18 of ice-time and no shots although he did hit a cross-bar in the third period. Jensen is the 36th different player to appear in a game for the Canucks this season... The 14 shots for the Canucks marked a season-low. Their previous low was 20.

BLOCK PARTY: You wouldn't think the Canucks had many offensive chances when you look at the fact they had just 14 shots on net but that stat doesn't tell the whole story in this game. Vancouver actually had 62 shot attempts but had 32 of their attempts blocked and 16 of them miss the net. Both teams ended up finishing with 32 blocked shots each. Every Canuck skater with the exception of Shawn Matthias and Tom Sestito was credited with at least one blocked shot.

3 FOR FIGHTING: While this game, unlike January 18, did not feature any line brawls, there was one scrap to speak of as Kevin Bieksa squared off with Calgary captain Mark Giordano early in the first period. The fight didn't last long, though, with Bieksa dropping Giordano quickly with a one-punch KO. The fight was Bieksa's sixth of the season tying his NHL career-high. His personal record for most fights in a single professional season came in 2004.05 when he had 12 scraps as a member of the AHL's Manitoba Moose. The Canucks are 3-2-1 this season in games where Bieksa fights.

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