Roberto Luongo's first season in Vancouver has brought mixed results to this point. His recent play at home suggests the best could be yet to come.
Luongo and the Canucks seek their fifth straight home victory and a sweep of their home and-home series Wednesday against the Calgary Flames.
Luongo was acquired from Florida on June 23 as part of a five-player deal that sent high-scoring forward Todd Bertuzzi to the Panthers. Luongo has been regarded as one of the league's top goaltenders for some time, but has never appeared in the playoffs.
The Canucks (18-18-1) hoped he would stabilize a position that has been a weak spot the past few years, but they have hovered around .500 and Luongo's .910 save percentage ranks 18th in the league.
Luongo helped Vancouver end a six-game road losing streak Tuesday, making 26 saves in a 3-1 victory at Calgary. Daniel Sedin scored twice and Trevor Linden also tallied for the Canucks, who snapped their own three-game overall skid while ending the Flames' franchise-record 10-game home win streak.
"I know they play very well in here so it's nice to come in here and get a win. It's a good way to start us off after the break," Vancouver's Trevor Linden said.
Luongo came within 23 seconds of a shutout, but rookie David Moss scored off a scramble.
"He was obviously on top of his game tonight," Calgary's Daymond Langkow said of Luongo. "We had some chances, we hit some posts, but against a goalie of his caliber you want to generate more chances and get more shots on him."
While the Canucks have struggled on the road, they have won four in a row at home with Luongo stopping 113 of 120 shots in that span. Included in that streak is a 3-1 victory over Calgary on Dec. 14.
These teams have already met three times this month and four times this season. The Flames won the first two meetings, but the Canucks have taken the last two by identical 3-1 scores.
Vancouver's win further tightened the Northwest Division with all five teams separated by one point. The Canucks and Flames are one point in back of division co-leaders Colorado, Minnesota and Edmonton.
Tuesday marked the first home loss for the Flames (17-14-3) and for goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff since a 4-1 defeat to Washington on Oct. 30. Kiprusoff has lost three consecutive starts overall, allowing three goals in each appearance.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla was held without a point for the second straight game, his longest drought of the season.
"This one doesn't feel good, but at least we get a chance to go and beat them in their rink in 20 or so hours," Iginla said. "No matter how the first game goes, the second game is always more important."
Already missing defensemen Roman Hamrlik and Andrei Zyuzin due to groin injuries, Calgary lost defenseman Richie Regehr to a hard hit in the first period. Regehr, recalled from Omaha of the AHL over the holiday break, is expected to be re-assessed Wednesday.
The Flames won't have to wait long for the chance to start another home streak as they open a season-high six-game homestand Friday against Los Angeles.