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game recap

Canucks rally to win season opener

Daniel Sedin scores late, Vancouver defeats Flames in shootout

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Loui Eriksson had a nightmare start to his Vancouver Canucks debut, but helped ensure a happy ending in their season-opening win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

Eriksson scored into his own net, which had been vacated on a delayed penalty against Calgary in the first period, but set up Daniel Sedin for the tying goal with a dominant shift with 3:51 left in the third period. Brandon Sutter then scored the only goal in the fourth round of the shootout to help the Canucks to a 2-1 win at Rogers Arena.

"I've never seen that before and it was lucky we came back and won," Eriksson said.

Canucks goalie Ryan Miller stopped Sam Bennett, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Kris Versteeg in the shootout before Sutter beat Chad Johnson with a quick shot between the legs to hand the Flames (0-2-1) their third straight loss to start the season.

Johnson, who signed a one-year, $1.7-million contract as a free agent on July 1, got the start with Calgary playing its third game in four nights after new Flames No. 1 goalie Brian Elliott gave up 10 goals on 55 shots in consecutive losses to the Edmonton Oilers to start the season.

"It's going to take a little bit for us to be comfortable with the system; it's a process when you have a new coach [Glen Gulutzan]," said Johnson, who made 30 saves.

Video: CGY@VAN: Sutter scores only goal of the shootout

Troy Brouwer was credited with the Calgary goal, which came with Miller out of the net on a delayed penalty call against Brouwer. Eriksson, who made his Canucks debut after signing a six-year, $36-million contract as a free agent on July 1, didn't know a penalty had been called when he went to pass the puck back into his own end from center ice without looking up first.

"As soon as I put it back there, I saw it was an empty net and I was like 'What is going on here?' and it slowly just glided in there," Eriksson said. "That was a tough one, but we won."

Miller stopped all 25 shots he faced - he was already on the bench when Eriksson's pass went into the empty net - to win his third straight season opener since joining the Canucks.

"Weird way to catalogue it: didn't let one in and don't get the shutout," Miller said. "But to get a win opening night and help get us started in the right direction, I would have taken anything."

Video: CGY@VAN: Miller prevents a goal on an odd-man rush

 

Goal of the game

Brouwer was credited with Calgary's only goal despite taking the penalty that led to it.

"It was a bizarre sequence," Brouwer said. "I have never scored a goal and gone to the box at the same time."

Video: CGY@VAN: Brouwer credited with Vancouver's own-goal

 

Save of the game

Miller lunged to his left to rob Gaudreau alone at the side of the net after a perfect blind backhand pass from the slot by Versteeg to keep it 1-0 with 8:13 left in the first period.

Video: CGY@VAN: Miller slides across crease, robs Gaudreau

 

Unsung moment of the game

As Gaudreau skated into the slot on the shootout, Miller dropped his right knee to freeze the forward, who deked wide to his forehand but couldn't get around the goalie's outstretched skate.

"He's really shifty and I felt I needed to change his mind to show him something," Miller said. "I wasn't going to let him go five-hole on his first option and I think he changed his mind."

 

Highlight of the game

The Canucks' new top line of Eriksson, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin controlled play for almost two full minutes in the Calgary end before finishing the shift off with a pretty tying goal. Henrik made a between-the-legs drop pass to Eriksson at the side of the net and his pass across the crease bounced off a defenseman to a wide open Daniel Sedin, who had an open net.

"It looked like the guys that were defending were getting tired," Eriksson said.

Video: CGY@VAN: D. Sedin ties the game late in the 3rd

 

They said it

"Coming in on him, I don't think the ice was very good so I thought about deking but just looked up and found a spot." -- Canucks forward Brandon Sutter

 

"There is a lot of changes here. It is a process. Every time you have a change, you are hoping to see quick results. They have to stick with us. We are going to be a really good hockey team." -- Flames forward Troy Brouwer

 

Video: CGY@VAN: Johnson corrals a redirection from Sutter

 

Need to know

The own-goal was originally credited to rookie defenseman Brett Kulak. It would have been his first NHL goal. … Flames defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, who signed a one-year contract on Oct. 11, was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

 

What's next

Canucks: Home against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday (10 p.m. ET; SN1, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

Flames: Home against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; SNF, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Sutter, Miller lead Canucks in shootout win, 2-1

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