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Flames continue dominance vs. Pacific, top Canucks

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames continue to dominate the Pacific Division.

Sean Monahan scored twice in a five-minute span in the second period and Karri Ramo made 28 saves to give the Flames a 3-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

Lance Bouma also scored for the Flames (31-22-3), who improved to 18-5-1 against the Pacific this season. Calgary currently holds the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The New York Islanders are the only team that has a better record against their division, with an 18-2-0 mark against the Metropolitan.

"We play those guys more often and once you've played teams more than once or twice throughout a season it gives you that rival and you want to win those games more," Monahan said. "When we play Vancouver obviously we have that extra little bit and find ways to get those two points.

"Those games are huge. We're getting down, blocking shots and trying to do the little things. When you have a full team effort like that it feels great."

Ronalds Kenins and Linden Vey scored for Vancouver (31-21-3), who lost forward Alexander Edler in the second period after he sustained an upper-body injury. Edler, who leads the Canucks in ice time, averaging more than 24 minutes per game, did not return.

"He's been our MVP," Alexandre Burrows said. "He's logged so many big minutes.

"He's been so good. He logs big minutes against the other team's best players. He's huge on our PK, he's huge on our power play. He's so smooth back there, He's important for our hockey team and it was tough to see him go out tonight."

Ramo stopped all nine shots faced in the third for his first win since Dec. 4.

"He played good," Canucks forward Jannik Hansen said. "He obviously kept them in the game at times. When the game was on the line. He made the save that they needed in order to get the win.

"We had four or five really good scoring chances. You can't really ask for more than that. If you don't score, that's your own fault. We had opportunities to tie the game and win the game."

Kenins opened the scoring with 3:48 remaining in the first, getting by Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman before snapping a shot short side by Ramo for his third of the season to put Vancouver up 1-0.

The goal came after Miller made some impressive stops. With Vey in the penalty box for tripping, Monahan's spinning shot from the slot hit the post, and on the rebound, was stopped again. Miller followed up the save with another on Wideman's shot from the point and the rebound attempt off the stick of Johnny Gaudreau, too. Miller made 11 first period saves.

Monahan's first of two goals in a five-minute span pulled Calgary even at 6:48 of the second period.

Deryk Engelland's stretch pass found Jiri Hudler, who sent Johnny Gaudreau in alone on Miller. Gaudreau couldn't slip a deke between Miller's legs, but Monahan followed up by poking the loose puck over the goal line just before a sliding Christopher Tanev dislodged the net to tie the game 1-1.

The play was reviewed and the goal stood.

"The puck was laying there on the line," Monahan said. "I wanted to get there as quick as I could. Lucky enough I got there before the net was knocked off so it was a good goal."

At 11:42 Monahan lifted a shot over Miller's glove after working a give-and-go off the rush with Hudler for his team-leading 19th of the year to put Calgary ahead.

"It was a great play by him," Monahan said. "He’s a smart player and you’ve got to expect it when you’re playing with guys like that. It was a great job by [Hudler]."

Skating four aside with Daniel Sedin and Matt Stajan serving coincidental unsportsmanlike conduct minors, Ramo stopped Chris Higgins initial shot but Vey converted the rebound to tie the game 2-2 with 2:17 remaining in the second.

David Jones sent a pass into the slot to Bouma, who beat Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller between the legs to put Calgary up 3-2 at 1:41 into the third period.

"That was an unbelievable pass," said Bouma, whose goal extended his career-high to 10. "He did a great job of finding me and I just tried to get it off as quick as possible. It was lucky to go in."

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