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game recap

Canucks use quick start to top Flames, win fifth straight

Pearson, Myers each has two goals, assist, Demko makes 23 saves in first start since Dec. 7

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Myers whips wrist shot

VAN@CGY: Myers fires wrist shot past Rittich for PPG

Tyler Myers waits with the puck and then fires a wrist shot that zooms by David Rittich, opening the scoring with a power-play goal

  • 00:31 •

CALGARY -- Tyler Myers and Tanner Pearson each had two goals and an assist, and the Vancouver Canucks won their season-high fifth straight game with a 5-2 victory against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday.

Jake Virtanen had a goal and an assist, and Bo Horvat had two assists for the Canucks (21-15-4), who have outscored their opponents 21-11 during the winning streak. Thatcher Demko made 23 saves in his first start since Dec. 7 because of a concussion.

"We talk about it almost every day. Simple hockey," Myers said. "I think we're starting to realize more and more, one of the biggest strengths of our team is our forecheck, so when we're chipping pucks in and we have the speed that we had tonight on the puck, you can tell that the other teams have trouble breaking the pucks out. It resulted in a lot of chances for us tonight. It was really good structure tonight. We just have to continue that."

 

[WATCH: All Canucks vs. Flames highlights]

 

Rasmus Andersson and Noah Hanifin scored, and Matthew Tkachuk had two assists for the Flames (20-16-5), who are 2-4-1 in their past seven games after winning their previous seven. David Rittich allowed three goals on seven shots before being replaced in the first period by Cam Talbot, who made 19 saves.

"The games that we're going, we're playing well," Tkachuk said. "Recently, we've had a lot of win one, lose one, win one, lose one. We've got to get out of that. We've lost a few in a row at home that we want to get out of. But in saying that, we're in a good spot. We're at the halfway point right now. It's right there for us to take."

Myers gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 3:29 of the first period when he shot through a screen past the glove of Rittich on the power play, and he extended the lead to 2-0 at 6:40 with a wrist shot five-hole from the right point.

"I've been around long enough to know now they come in bunches," Myers said. "At least that's what it seems like throughout my last 10 years. The last stretch of games here they seem to be coming and you really just try to play as consistent as you can, keep the same mindset going into each game. Fortunately, a few went in tonight."

Video: VAN@CGY: Myers nets his second goal in the 1st period

Virtanen made it 3-0 with a power-play goal at 10:52 of the first when his centering pass redirected off the stick of Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic past Rittich.

"I was mad," said Rittich, who was pulled following the goal. "Not at my teammates, I was mad at myself. I let three goals in. It wasn't a good game by me."

Andersson cut it to 3-1 at 18:36 of the second period during a 4-on-4, getting the rebound of Sean Monahan's shot in front and scoring with a backhand.

Pearson put Vancouver ahead 4-1 at 6:14 of the third with a turnaround shot in the left circle after Horvat's initial attempt hit him.

Video: VAN@CGY: Pearson roofs turnaround blast in the 3rd

Hanifin made it 4-2 at 19:02 from the high slot, but Pearson scored into an empty net with 25 seconds remaining for the 5-2 final.

"I think we've got to get used to playing with the lead and not take our foot off the gas pedal, keep playing our game for a full 60 (minutes) when we have the lead, kind of stomp on their throats," Pearson said.

 

They said it

"Obviously, our first goal of the year is to get into the playoffs. You have to be good all year. You can't turn it on late. You've got to be solid throughout the season. Staying in the mix and getting back up towards the top of the Pacific (Division) is huge for us." -- Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko

"This wasn't the way we drew it up tonight. It's a little bit of a setback, but tomorrow is a new day and we've got to come ready to work and ready to be prepared to grind out a win on New Year's Eve." -- Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk

 

Need to know

Vancouver is second in the NHL with 45 goals in the first period, trailing only the Colorado Avalanche (47). … Virtanen has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in his past 15 games. … Canucks forward Brock Boeser had an assist and has six points (one goal, five assists) in a five-game point streak. … Jacob Markstrom had played nine games in a row prior to Demko's start. … Talbot played in his 300th NHL game. 

 

What's next

Canucks: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; SNP, NBCSCH+, NHL.TV)

Flames: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)

Video: Myers, Pearson help Canucks win fifth straight game

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