GAME: Vancouver Canucks (18-8-6-2) at Calgary Flames (18-9-2-3).
TIME: Friday, 9 p.m. EST.
The Calgary Flames look to close in on the Northwest Division-leading
Vancouver Canucks when the teams meet at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Calgary has won four straight, including 2-1 over the Edmonton Oilers on
Tuesday. Rhett Warrener scored his first goal in 100 games and goaltender
Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 30 shots to improve his record to 10-2-1.
"This one feels good because it was a battle out there," said Jarome
Iginla, who combined with rookie Matthew Lombardi to set up both Flames goals.
"They started to take over the momentum in the third but we got some huge
saves from Kiprusoff and we hung in there. That's part of what good teams do,
they find ways to win."
Kiprusoff lowered his NHL-leading goals-against average to 1.44, and
improved his NHL-best save percentage to .943.
"My confidence is way up right now and the whole team has been playing
great," said Kiprusoff, acquired on Nov. 16 from San Jose. "Two months ago, I
had no idea what was going to happen but since I came here, it's been great."
The 27-year-old goalie has limited the opposition to one goal in nine of his
13 starts. He has won five games with a one-goal lead. Only twice has he had
more than three goals to work with.
Calgary is unbeaten in their last seven at home (5-0-2) and have lost just
once in regulation in 17 games (12-1-2-2).
Vancouver came back from a three-goal deficit to tie the Los Angeles Kings
4-4 Monday night, playing overtime for the fifth straight home game. Jarkko
Ruutu scored his third goal of the season -- and second in two games -- to get
the tie, and Dan Cloutier made 24 saves for the Canucks.
Todd Bertuzzi, Artem Chubarov and Brett Sopel also scored. Chubarov scored
for the first time in 20 games and Sopel had his first goal in 25.
"It was the third- and fourth-line guys that did the bulk of the work and
got us back in the game," Canucks captain Markus Naslund said. "We're happy
to get that point."
The Canucks are 4-3-2 in December with three of those win in overtime.
Left wing Matt Cooke, who has nine points in 22 games, is expected to return
after the Christmas break. He missed 11 games with a staph infection while
rehabilitating a shoulder injury.
Calgary is 3-2-3 in the last eight meetings against Vancouver.