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Flames look to stay hot against Canucks

by Brian Hunter /

FLAMES (28-21-8) at CANUCKS (35-11-9)


Last 10:
Calgary 8-0-2; Vancouver 6-1-3

Season series: Fourth of six meetings between these Northwest Division rivals. The Canucks asserted themselves over the first two games, as Mason Raymond recorded the hat trick in a 7-2 rout on Dec. 1 and Roberto Luongo came within 10.8 seconds of a shutout and finished with 43 saves in a 3-1 win on Jan. 5. The Flames responded with a 4-3 victory in the most recent matchup on Jan. 22, with Alex Tanguay scoring the decisive shootout goal.

Big story: With Detroit's recent struggles, Vancouver has started to open up its lead in the race for the top seed and home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. This will be a great test for Calgary, which is playing for the second straight night. The Flames' previous win over the Canucks came in the second game of their current 8-0-2 run.

Team Scope:

Flames: It's now 10 straight games with at least a point for Calgary, but the Flames were a little more than two minutes away from winning their game against the Ducks on Friday, rallying for a pair of third-period goals by Jarome Iginla and Curtis Glencross to take a 4-3 lead. A late power-play goal by Teemu Selanne tied the score and rookie defenseman Cam Fowler struck at 4:41 of overtime as Anaheim dealt Calgary a 5-4 defeat. It leaves the Flames one point ahead of the Wild for eighth in the West.

"We battled hard here but we made a couple mistakes and with the offensive players that they have, you have to be wary, and you have to make very few mistakes as they're a very opportunistic team," forward Brendan Morrison said.

Canucks: For the first time this season, Vancouver figures to have Sami Salo in the lineup after the defenseman was recalled from the AHL, where he had been on a conditioning assignment. Salo had missed the entire season recovering from Achilles surgery. It's a key addition for the Canucks, who saw their six-game winning streak come to an end Wednesday with a 4-3 loss to the Ducks, and lost blueliner Dan Hamhuis to a concussion on a third-period hit by Ryan Getzlaf.

"Dan has the glass plastered to his face right now," coach Alain Vigneault said afterward. "This is a physical game, a big man hitting a defenseman, it's part of the game."

Who's hot: Robyn Regehr has 1 goal and 6 assists during a five-game points streak for the Flames. Iginla has 1 goal and 5 assists during a four-game points streak. Olli Jokinen (2-4-6) and Glencross (3-2-5) have three-game points streaks going.

Alexandre Burrows has 6 goals and 3 assists during an eight-game points streak for the Canucks. Mikael Samuelsson has 4 goals and 6 assists during a five-game points streak. Ryan Kesler keeps adding to his career high in goals, with 8 in his last 10 games and 32 for the season.

Injury report: Tanguay has missed the last two games for Calgary with a strained neck while defenseman Adam Pardy has been sidelined with an upper-body injury.

Luongo was battling the flu earlier this week but still dressed as the backup to Cory Schneider in Vancouver's game Wednesday. Hamhuis is out indefinitely, while fellow defenseman Keith Ballard was placed on injured reserve and will miss 3-4 weeks with a knee sprain. Also on injured reserve are blueliners Lee Sweatt (foot) and Alexander Edler (back) and forward Guillaume Desbiens (hand).

Stat pack: Two nights after Regehr played in his 800th NHL game, Cory Sarich reached the same milestone for the Flames on Friday. … Wednesday's loss was just the third in regulation for the Canucks in their past 30 games. Luongo is 15-0-5 since his last regulation loss on Dec. 5 against the Blues.

Puck drop: This game is the finale of a Hockey Day in Canada tripleheader that begins with Ottawa visiting at Edmonton at 2 p.m. ET, followed by Toronto taking on Montreal at 7 p.m.

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