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Fresh off key win, Flames travel to play Canucks

by Brian Hunter /

FLAMES (21-21-6) at CANUCKS (29-10-8)


Last 10:
Calgary 4-3-3; Vancouver 5-2-3

Season series: Third of six meetings between these Northwest Division rivals. The Canucks have a win in each team's building, routing the Flames 7-2 in Calgary on Dec. 1 behind a Mason Raymond hat trick and winning 3-1 in Vancouver on Jan. 5 as Roberto Luongo made 43 saves.

Big story: While it would be premature to say the Canucks have hit the skids, they've won only once in five games (1-2-2) since their run of 17 straight games with at least a point (14-0-3) ended with a 1-0 loss in New York to the Rangers. Even still, Vancouver leads the Western Conference by two points over Detroit as play begins Saturday while trailing Philadelphia by one point in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.

Team Scope:

Flames: The offense showed up in a big way for Calgary on Friday, as David Moss scored twice and Jarome Iginla reached the 20-goal mark for the 12th consecutive season in a 7-4 victory over Dallas. After each team had a pair of goals in the opening period, the Flames took control by scoring the first three in the second for a 5-2 lead. The Stars trimmed it down to a goal in the third before Iginla and Moss struck for insurance.

"Jarome's goal was a big goal," coach Brent Sutter said. "That's the way we want to play as far as being hard on the forecheck, We made a play from behind the net, and Jarome was able to tuck it to the far side."

Canucks: Opening up a four-game homestand Thursday against San Jose, the defensive effort wasn't as tight as Vancouver would have liked it. The Sharks put 25 shots on goal in the second period alone and had 46 for the game. Only a brilliant effort by Luongo ensured the Canucks ended up with a point in what became a 2-1 shootout loss. Henrik Sedin had their only goal in the first period.

"We were better for two periods and in overtime," he said. "But the middle period we gave up close to 30 shots and close to 20 scoring chances. That's not the way we want to play."

Who's hot: Iginla has a pair of multi-point efforts in his last three games for the Flames. Moss has a pair of goals in three of his last nine games. … Luongo's run continues for the Canucks, as he's 10-0-4 in his last 14 starts, giving up two goals or fewer 10 times.

Injury report: Calgary defenseman Steve Staios (upper body) and forwards Daymond Langkow (neck) and Raitis Ivanans (concussion) are on injured reserve. … Vancouver defenseman Andrew Alberts has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury. Defenseman Aaron Rome (sprained MCL) and forwards Alexandre Bolduc (shoulder) and Guillaume Desbiens (broken hand) are on injured reserve.

Stat pack: Flames backup goalie Henrik Karlsson won his first career game at home Friday and improved to 4-3-4 overall. … Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa is a team-best plus-20, tied for seventh in the League.

Puck drop:
Vancouver rookie Sergei Shirokov scored his first NHL goal in his season debut Tuesday, but was benched in the third period of Thursday's game. According to the Vancouver Sun, he practiced as a defenseman on Friday and will not be in the lineup against Calgary. But Shirokov, who has eight career games under his belt, was taking everything in stride.

"[Saturday] I don't play," he told the paper. "I just work today. Every day I must work. It's good to be here."

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