The Canucks had no trouble defeating the Calgary Flames in their season opener in Vancouver. They hope for a similar result when they meet again Saturday in Calgary.
Vancouver opened the 2008-09 season with an emotional 6-0 win over the Flames on Thursday, as Alex Burrows scored twice and goaltender Roberto Luongo made 25 saves. Before the game, the Canucks honored former teammate Luc Bourdon, who died in a motorcycle accident in May.
"Seeing (Bourdon) wearing the Canucks jersey in the video, you fight back tears watching those things," said Luongo, the new Vancouver captain. "You try to take that emotion and carry it over to the game and change it into positive energy."
The Canucks were outshot 25-23, but Luongo was solid, recording his 39th career shutout to move into a tie with Jocelyn Thibault for fifth among active goalies. Luongo was tied for third in the league with six shutouts last season.
"It's not about personal, it's all about the team right now," said Luongo, who improved to 6-3-0 with a 2.27 goals-against average in nine games against the Flames since the start of last season. "We want to win, we want to make the playoffs and the bottom line in every game is the two points. Whatever I can do to contribute and help my teammates, I'll do that."
While Luongo shut down Calgary's attack, Vancouver's top line combined for six points in the opener. Steve Bernier had a goal, Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist and Daniel Sedin had three assists for the Canucks, who were tied with Atlanta for the eighth-fewest goals in the league with 207 last season.
Vancouver, which finished last in the Northwest Division with 88 points in 2007-08, looks for another offensive outburst when it opens a six-game road trip Saturday. The Canucks have gone 2-2-0 at Pengrowth Saddledome each of the last three seasons.
"We've been playing well," Luongo said of the Canucks' franchise-best 6-0-1 preseason record. "We're a confident group and we got a lot of momentum."
The Flames, who finished 2007-08 with 94 points to earn their fourth straight trip to the playoffs, also had a strong preseason (5-2-0) but were unable to carry any momentum into the opener.
Calgary couldn't capitalize on a 5-on-3 advantage midway through the first period, and failed on all six power-play opportunities. In the third period, the Flames allowed Vancouver's Rick Rypien to score on a short-handed breakaway with 5:18 left.
"It was a tough game," said Miikka Kiprusoff, who was beaten three times on the first seven shots and finished with 17 saves.
Kiprusoff dropped to 2-5-1 with a 3.98 GAA against the Canucks since the start of last season.
Calgary is trying to get off to a better start than a year ago, when it opened with three straight losses.
"We need a win, that's the only thing," forward Todd Bertuzzi said. "I don't care how we do it or what we do, we've got to get a win. There's a whole new level and a lot of us have to raise our game up to and we'll be ready for Saturday."
The Flames were without defenseman Robyn Regehr for the season opener after he left the team to be with his wife, who into labor. He is expected to rejoin Calgary for this game.