NHL leading scorer Daniel Sedin had two goals and an assist in the Vancouver Canucks' 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.
In a clash between the league's top two teams since Christmas, the game took on a playoff feel. It was especially important for the Flames, who are locked in a desperate fight for a postseason spot in the congested Western Conference.
Vancouver entered with a 16-point lead over the second-place Flames in the Northwest Division and seven-point edge on Philadelphia for first in the league.
The Canucks took a 4-3 lead with 16 seconds left in the second period when their No. 1-ranked power play struck for the second time in two chances.
Ryan Kesler beat Alex Tanguay on a faceoff in the Flames end, drawing the puck back to defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. Ehrhoff's shot through a crowd caromed sharply off Kesler in front and went right to Sedin, who scored his second goal of the period.
Sedin's 37th goal was a career high, topping the 36 he scored in the 2006-07 season.
It was the third assist of the period for Ehrhoff, whose three-point night tied a career high.
Kesler and Alex Burrows also scored for Vancouver (45-16-9). The win capped off a 5-0 road trip for the Canucks, who have regained their form after alternating wins and losses through most of February.
Mikael Backlund, Matt Stajan and David Moss had goals for the Flames (36-26-9), who lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time since Jan. 3 and 5.
The Flames are in the top eight in the West, but barely. Nashville is ninth, one point back with two games in hand. Two points back with three games in hand are the 10th-place Anaheim Ducks.
Calgary's best chance to tie the game in the third came late in the period, but the Flames couldn't capitalize with the man advantage.
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla led a 3-on-1 rush earlier in the period, but his centering pass caromed off the skate of Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis and slid harmlessly into the corner.
The Flames led 2-1 after the first period but Sedin tied it at 9:46 of the second on a Calgary defensive lapse. With the puck in the corner, Sedin skated through the slot uncovered and rifled home a pass from brother Henrik, who finished with two assists.
Calgary regained the lead 66 seconds later off a mad scramble at the side of the Canucks net. Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo couldn't corral the bouncing puck, and Moss eventually jammed it over the line.
Luongo, who finished with 20 saves, was visibly upset, feeling he had the puck covered.
Vancouver tied it again at 15:41 when Burrows neatly deflected Daniel Sedin's low slap shot over goalie Miikka Kiprusoff for his 20th goal.
Calgary entered the night without a goal in 111 minutes, 19 seconds, but that drought ended at 2:14 of the first period on a highlight-reel effort from Backlund.
The 21-year-old Swede stripped the puck from Mikael Samuelsson and broke in alone on Luongo, zipping a backhand into the top corner. His eighth of the season snapped a 14-game goal-less streak.
The Flames went ahead 2-0 at 3:32 when Stajan knocked a rebound past Luongo for his sixth goal and first in 12 games.
Vancouver got on the scoreboard at 8:48 when Kesler snapped an 11-game drought with his 34th.
Kiprusoff, who finished with 28 saves, was back after getting a night off in Calgary's 3-0 loss at Phoenix on Thursday. That ended a run of 22 consecutive starts.
Notes: Calgary D Jay Bouwmeester played in his 495th consecutive game. The NHL's leading active ironman, Bouwmeester tied Karlis Skrastins for the longest ironman streak for a defenseman.