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Canucks go for fifth straight win

by Deborah Francisco

FLAMES (3-3-2) at CANUCKS (6-2-2)


Season series: This is the second of five meetings between the Flames and Canucks this season. The Northwest Division rivals split their six-game series last season. The Canucks beat the Flames 3-2 in a shootout when they faced each other on Jan. 23 at Rogers Arena.

Big story: Despite injuries to several key players, the Flames hope to prevent the Canucks from picking up their fifth straight win. The Flames will play without longtime starting goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and center Mikael Backlund, both of whom are on the injured list. They have called up the Abbotsford Heat's leading scorer, Ben Street, to help fill in for Backlund's absence.

Team Scope:

Flames: Hitting the road was just what the Flames needed to snap out of their early-season funk. After opening 1-3-2 while playing five of six games at home, the Flames won at Detroit and Columbus this week. They beat the Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime on Thursday as Alex Tanguay scored 64 seconds into overtime. With Kiprusoff sidelined, backup goaltender Leland Irving made 26 saves for the win.

Street, a Vancouver native, will make his NHL debut against the Canucks on Saturday.

"I'm pretty excited," Street told the Flames' website. "It's Hockey Night In Canada and it's Vancouver, where I'm from, so it's just about as cool as it could possibly be. It's been a bit of a whirlwind and I'm really excited to get going."

Canucks: The Canucks lead the Northwest Division standings with 14 points thanks to their four-game winning streak. Cory Schneider was in goal for Thursday's 4-1 victory at Minnesota after Roberto Luongo was between the pipes for the Canucks' prior three victories. Coach Alain Vigneault isn't saying who will play Saturday.

"We've got two world-class goalies and it's a problem a lot of teams would like to have," forward Chris Higgins said." Great guys and we'll take that effort every night from our goalies."

Who's hot: Vancouver's Daniel Sedin snapped a four-game scoreless streak notching two points in his last two games. … Tanguay is on a seven-game point streak, with four goals and five assists in that span.

Injury report: The Flames are without Kiprusoff for at least seven days (lower body) and Backlund is out 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain. Center Michal Cammalleri is day-to-day (hip flexor) and Sven Baertschi is week-to-week (hip flexor) …The Canucks are without David Booth (groin) and Ryan Kesler (shoulder surgery).

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