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Flames start long trip in Vancouver

by Davis Harper /

FLAMES (16-15-4) at CANUCKS (21-11-2)


LAST 10: Calgary 5-3-2; Vancouver 7-2-1

Season Series: This is the third of six season meetings between these Northwest Division foes. Vancouver won both of the previous matchups by 5-1 margins, with five different Canucks scoring goals in each.

Big Story: Two teams coming off back-to-back home victories over Minnesota and Detroit will face off Friday night at Rogers Arena. Calgary, which kicks off a seven-game road trip, is looking to buck a trend of five straight road losses, while Vancouver will look to maximize points on home ice.

Team Scope:

Flames: After taking a 3-0 lead within 25 minutes against Detroit on Thursday, Calgary had to hold on against the Red Wings down the stretch for a 3-2 win in its last home game of 2011.

"We got away from a few things we had in the first two periods in the third period," said Curtis Glencross, who scored twice to give him four goals over his last three games. "Detroit's a team with that skill. They can always come back. Three goals for them isn't much."

The win helped extend their home winning streak to five, but the Flames have matched that number by losing five in a row on the road.

Canucks: The Sedin brothers are again producing points at an intimidating clip, but it was Alexandre Burrows who moved into a tie for the team lead in goals (13) when he scored the game-winner in the first period against Detroit on Wednesday.

"I'm trying to get a piece of it and try to surprise the goalie a bit," Burrows - who also had the game-winner in the first matchup of the Calgary series - said of his deflection of a hard pass from Daniel Sedin. "They're one of the best teams at going to the net and we like to take pages out of their book and tonight it worked out in our favor."

The Detroit win was just the most recent success for Vancouver, which is 7-2-1 in December. With goalie Roberto Luongo finally hitting his stride and the offense producing consistently, Vancouver is looking again like the complete team that was inches from a Stanley Cup a season ago.

Who's Hot: Calgary's Olli Jokinen has eight points over a current five-game points streak. … Burrows has a four-point streak of his own, notching goals in each for a total of six points over that span.

Injury Report: Both teams are enduring a host of injuries. Key Flames forward Alex Tanguay missed Thursday's game with an undisclosed injury. Matt Stajan (sprained ankle), Henrik Karlsson (sprained right MCL), Mark Giordano (ruptured leg tendons), David Moss (foot), Anton Babchuk (hand), Brett Carson (back) are on injured reserve. … For Vancouver, Keith Ballard is questionable with back spasms. Aaron Rome (broken thumb - 3-4 weeks), David Booth (4-6 weeks, sprained right knee), Aaron Volpatti (shoulder surgery), Steve Pinizzotto (shoulder surgery) and Byron Bitz (groin surgery) populate a crowded Vancouver injury list.

Stat Pack: Two veteran goalies will go head-to-head when these rivals face off. Luongo has been solid over his career against Calgary, going 22-10-1 with a 2.54 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff hasn't enjoyed as much success against the Canucks, with a 20-22-0 record, 3.29 GAA and an .885 save percentage in 47 starts.

Puck Drop: The Flames and Edmonton Oilers are hitting the road for the next couple of weeks while the World Junior Championship takes over their home arenas. Among the casualties could be the chance for Flames captain Jarome Iginla to score his 500th NHL goal in front of the home fans. He has 497 as Calgary heads out of town for seven games.

"I don't think that's a real big deal to Jarome," Glencross said. "His 500th is going to come no matter what sometime, right. It would've been nice to get it at home but at the same time he's not real worried where he's going to get it. He's going to get that 500 eventually."

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