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Schneider to start as Canucks, Flames chase first win

by Brian Hunter

FLAMES (0-2-0) at CANUCKS (0-1-1)


Season series: First of five meetings between these Northwest Division rivals. They split six games on the 2011-12 slate, with Mike Cammalleri of the Flames leading all scorers with four goals. The Canucks got at least one goal from 13 different players.

Big story: Beyond the ongoing trade drama swirling around Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo, there are a very important two points on the line Wednesday that both the Flames and Canucks need after stumbling out of the gate. Cory Schneider gets the start in net.

Team Scope:

Flames: Miikka Kiprusoff has started at least 70 games and won at least 35 for seven straight seasons. The shortened 2012-13 campaign will bring an end to those streaks, but Calgary still expects more out of the veteran netminder than the 4.54 goals-against average and .830 save percentage he's posted through two starts. Kiprusoff yielded three goals in the first 11 minutes to the Ducks on Monday, and though the Flames recovered to pull into a 3-3 tie after two periods, they ultimately fell short by a 5-4 final.

"We need to be sharper," captain Jarome Iginla told the Calgary Herald. "Guys are working hard, guys want to do the right things. But we're making some mistakes. Consistency in going to the right positions. Being in the right spots. Throughout our lineup. We've got to get tighter there. We know that. We're going to work hard to correct it."

Canucks: After relieving his expected heir apparent, Schneider, in an opening night loss to Anaheim, it was Luongo who earned the start Sunday in Edmonton. He turned in a shutout performance for almost 40 minutes as Vancouver jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals by Alexander Edler and Zack Kassian, but a goal by Jordan Eberle with 3.1 seconds left in the second period shifted the momentum and the Canucks ended up losing 3-2 in a shootout.

"I thought we deserved to win," Luongo told the Vancouver Sun. "Unfortunately, it came down to a shootout and I wasn't able to make any saves there."

Who's hot: Curtis Glencross scored twice and added an assist in the Flames' loss to the Ducks. Lee Stempniak lit the lamp for the second straight game. … Edler, who recently signed a six-year contract extension with the Canucks, has goals in each of the first two games.

Injury report: Calgary forward Roman Cervenka (blood clot) is out indefinitely. Defenseman Anton Babchuk (shoulder) isn't expected back until early February. Forward Jiri Hudler is on bereavement leave while mourning the death of his father. … Vancouver forwards David Booth (groin) and Ryan Kesler (shoulder/wrist) are on injured reserve.

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