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Preview: Flames vs. Canucks

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

A rare poor effort by Cory Schneider opened the door for Roberto Luongo to see some action in the Vancouver Canucks' last game.

It will be interesting to see whether Schneider or Luongo gets the start Sunday night when the Canucks try to continue their recent dominance of the visiting Calgary Flames.

Schneider has started every game since Nov. 16, including a five-start winning streak during which he posted a 0.79 goals-against average with two shutouts Nov. 20-29. However, he gave up three goals on five shots in the first period of Thursday's 6-5 home loss to Nashville and was pulled in favor of Luongo.

"I'm just frustrated that I put the team in that position, you put your goaltending partner in that position," Schneider said. "It's never easy to come into a game cold like that."

Luongo stopped 12 of 15 shots in his first appearance since Nov. 13.

"I felt pretty good, obviously it was my first action in awhile," Luongo said. "I'm just going to be looking to build off of that, and we have plenty of games left."

Vancouver (14-10-1) is 9-0-2 against Calgary (11-12-2) since its last regulation loss in the series, 5-3 on Oct. 16, 2009. Luongo has started all but one of those contests, going 8-0-2 with a 1.87 GAA. He was in net for this season's lone previous matchup, a 5-1 road victory Nov. 1.

Schneider, meanwhile, is 1-1-0 with a 2.45 GAA in two career starts versus the Flames.

The Canucks are hoping their penalty kill fares better than Thursday, when it allowed Nashville to score on all three power-play chances.

"It was an entertaining game without a doubt, not the way we had drawn it up," coach Alain Vigneault said. "I liked everything about our game except for our penalty-killing, and obviously both our goaltenders would probably like to have a couple of those back."

The Flames should pose a threat with the man advantage. Calgary's 26.3 power-play percentage on the road is the league's third-best.

Olli Jokinen and Mikael Backlund scored with the man advantage Saturday to help the Flames win 5-3 at Edmonton.

Jokinen added an empty-net goal and Jarome Iginla had three assists as Calgary rallied after giving up the game's first two goals within the first three minutes.

"It wasn't the start we wanted to have," Jokinen said. "We needed to get back to our game and play good defense against this team."

Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 26 saves to earn the win for Calgary, is 2-8-0 with a 4.90 GAA in his last 10 starts against the Canucks. Backup Henrik Karlsson played the third period of the Nov. 1 loss, not allowing a goal but only facing three shots.

Vancouver left wing Mason Raymond is finally set to make his season debut. Raymond missed the first 24 games of the season with a back injury, but a paperwork issue kept him out Thursday.

"He was real disappointed, he was ready to play, he wanted to come in and help his teammates, it's unfortunate for him, but things happen sometimes," Vigneault told the Canucks' official website.

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