Skip to main content

Canucks close season by beating Flames in OT

NHL.com @NHL
The Vancouver Canucks hope to follow the greatest regular season in their 40 NHL seasons with the franchise's first Stanley Cup.

The Canucks wrapped up the regular season like a champion on Saturday, rallying from a 2-0 deficit in the third period to beat the Calgary Flames 3-2 in overtime at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Christian Ehrhoff scored at 2:41 of OT to give the Canucks 54 wins and 117 points, both franchise records.

After rallying from a 2-0 deficit on goals by Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows, the Canucks got the victory when Ehrhoff's slap shot from the blue line beat Henrik Karlsson between his pads. Karlsson was furious after the goal, pleading with the referees that he had been interfered with.

"We won the game tonight, but at the end of the day it's not going to mean anything, we've got to start focusing on the playoffs," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "As a player it's challenging, you want to stay on the conservative side, but at the same time it's like a hard practice, the best way to stay sharp and stay healthy is to do things the right way."

Daniel Sedin had a pair of assists to clinch the NHL scoring race with 104 points -- 41 goals and 63 assists. Twin brother Henrik won the scoring title last season. Daniel's 104 points are the fewest for an Art Ross Trophy winner since Tampa Bay's Marty St. Louis won with 94 in 2003-04.

The playoffs begin on Wednesday, but the Canucks will not know their first-round opponent until Sunday.

Jarome Iginla and Mikael Backlund scored for Calgary, which missed the playoffs for the second season in a row.

"In the last 50 games, I think our record is somewhere close to the top five teams in the league so as tough as this is, there's more optimism than there was at the end of last year," Iginla said.

Since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2004, Calgary has either lost in the first round or missed the playoffs entirely.

"Certainly tonight, the legs weren't there. It was hard to find the motivation," said Flames forward Alex Tanguay, who had an assist to finish second on the team with 69 points.

It was a battle of backups with Cory Schneider drawing the start for the Canucks against Karlsson, who finished with 36 saves in just his second start since Jan. 21.

Vancouver trailed 2-0 heading to the third period and was outshot 15-2 in the second.

But Burrows got them on the board at 2:02, and Kesler's power-play goal at 11:05 forced overtime. Kesler one-timed a feed from Henrik Sedin past Karlsson's glove on a play that started with a behind-the-back pass from Daniel.

Schneider made 34 saves to improve to 16-4-2. He played his 25th game of the season, qualifying to get his name alongside Roberto Luongo's on the William Jennings Trophy, which goes to the team that surrenders the fewest goals. Vancouver clinched the trophy for the first time, allowing just 183 goals.

"You always want to win your last game," Schneider said. "For me, it might be the last one for a while, but I tried to make it feel as if it were a playoff game and to bring that kind of intensity in competition."

The Canucks also lead the NHL in goals scored and will become the first team since the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens to lead in both categories unless Detroit scores five goals on Sunday.

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report

View More