CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Dan Cloutier hardly needed any help.
Cloutier made 31 saves for his second shutout of the season -- both in the
past three games -- and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 2-0 Friday
"Danny's been real solid for us all year, it's nice for him to get some
results and get some credit -- shutouts are nice," Vancouver center Trevor
Mattias Ohlund and Brendan Morrison scored in the first period for
first-place Vancouver, which increased its lead to five points over Calgary in
the Northwest Division.
The Canucks are 6-0-2 in their last eight trips to the Pengrowth Saddledome.
"Calgary likes to throw pucks at the net and crash the net and that's what
I worked on this morning at practice and it seemed to work," Cloutier said.
Cloutier's biggest stop of the night came 6:50 into the third period -- and
it didn't even count as a save.
With Calgary applying immense pressure and buzzing around the Vancouver net,
the Flames were awarded a penalty shot when Ohlund was called for closing his
hand on the puck while he was lying on the ice inside the goal crease.
Oleg Saprykin was selected to take his first NHL penalty shot but was left
with little to shoot at by a well-positioned Cloutier. Saprykin wristed a shot
wide from 20 feet out.
"I know he's a great shooter and that his shot is usually stick side,"
Cloutier said. "When he was looking up, I tried to cover that area and then he
looked down and the puck started jumping on him so I think he just tried to
hurry up and get the puck away."
Flames coach Darryl Sutter lamented the missed opportunity but noted the
game was lost much earlier than that.
"That was big, that cuts it in half, although really that's what our goal
was in the second period was to cut the lead in half," he said.
Calgary had its four-game winning streak snapped and lost in regulation for
only the second time in 18 games (12-2-2-2). Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves.
"We were flat in the first, we had no jump at all, and we were down 2-0
right away," Flames defenseman Rhett Warrener said. "It's inexcusable and we
can only point our fingers at ourselves."
Vancouver lost defenseman Sami Salo with 6:40 left in the third period when
he had to be helped off the ice after a knee-on-knee collision with Calgary
defenseman Denis Gauthier.
Gauthier was given a kneeing major and a game misconduct.
"Some of our young players couldn't play the pace the Canucks played in the
first period," Sutter said. "We had a great second period, but by then we
were behind the 8-ball."