Backed by a 43-save performance from Roberto Luongo and goals from Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin, the Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 Wednesday night at Rogers Arena for their seventh consecutive win.
With the victory Vancouver extends its streak without a regulation loss to 14-games, a new franchise record.
“It was a big win for us against a divisional rival, a team that played us pretty tough tonight, but we played another good game,” said Kevin Bieksa, who scored Vancouver’s second goal, the eventual game-winner, and added an assist for his third multi-point game in the last 10 outings.
The Canucks once again opened the scoring, a recipe for success in 22 wins this season, with Kesler tapping-in his 20th goal of the season making Vancouver the first team with a pair of 20-goal scorers this season. Mason Raymond did the dirty work using his speed to get around Robyn Regehr down the left wing before hitting Kesler in the middle for the easy goal.
Bieksa doubled Vancouver’s lead with 3:48 to play in the first period when a routine point shot from the blueline eluded Miikka Kiprusoff, and midway through the second frame Daniel Sedin re-directed another Bieksa shot to give the Canucks a 3-0 lead and a stranglehold on the game.
Calgary was in full flight over the final 20 minutes peppering Luongo with another 18 shots to the 26 he had already faced in the first two periods; the Canucks netminder was perfect on all but one as Tim Jackman poked a puck past him with 10.8 seconds left to put his third shutout of the season and the 54th donut of his career on hold.
It goes without saying the Canucks would have liked to close the game out stronger for Luongo, who is now 10-2-1 in his last 13 home games against Calgary.
“Great game for Roberto, it’s too bad we couldn’t do the job in front of him the last 10 seconds, I feel bad for him there, he definitely deserved the shutout,” said Bieksa.
Added Alex Burrows: “I know he’s not too happy, so I don’t say too much, but I just told him he played a great game, that’s the bottom line that he had a great game tonight and he’s got to look at the good things he did tonight and all the saves and the way he battled tonight instead of thinking about the last goal.”
Despite the Canucks having gone 5-0-1 in their last six games against the Flames, with the team allowing two or fewer goals in 12 of their 19 home games (14-3-2), Daniel Sedin wasn’t impressed with the effort on the night.
“We’ve got to be careful now, I think we’re starting to slip,” said Daniel. “We played good in San Jose, but the two road games before that and tonight too, I don’t think we played good enough games so we need to get better.
“We got the lead tonight and you tend to sit back a little bit more when you get the lead. Right now we’re probably focusing a little bit too much on the defensive side of the game and not putting enough pressure on the other team. It’s an easy thing to fix, but it’s not good getting outshot pretty much 2-to-1 tonight.”
Daniel Sedin didn’t even realize what he did.
In Daniel’s eyes, his second period goal, in which he got a stick on a Kevin Bieksa shot from the blueline, was just another goal.
Boy was he wrong. Daniel’s goal was the 10,000th scored in Canucks franchise history.
“It was a great shot by Kevin, he had his head up and saw me in front there so I think he meant to shoot it a little bit wide so I could tip it,” said Daniel.
Vancouver’s 10,000 goals have come from 354 players, with each having scored at least once. Forty-three players found the back of the net only once for the Canucks, including Colin Campbell, Robert Flockhart, Claude Vilgrain, Stephane Morin and Alex Bolduc, while Markus Naslund scored a team-best 346 in Vancouver.
The top five goal scorers in Canucks history – Naslund (346), Linden (318), Smyl (262), Bure (254) and Tanti (250) accounted for 1,430 goals; the top 10 scorers have combined for 2,409.
The Sedins have 16 points in Vancouver's last four games against Calgary; the last time Vancouver won seven straight games was last season from January 16-30; Henrik Sedin failed to record a point for just the fourth time at Rogers Arena this season, he has three goals and 19 assists in 19 home games.