CALGARY, Alberta – Michael Cammalleri and the Calgary Flames took a meaningless game against the Vancouver Canucks very seriously.
"Regardless of the lack of implications in the standings, it's like anything that a competitive person does whether you're playing a ping pong game or anything else," Cammalleri said. "It's just you like to win and you like to win against your rivals."
Cammalleri scored twice in the third period in the Flames' 3-2 comeback victory Thursday night to reach the 20-goal plateau for the fifth time in his 10-year NHL career.
"Tonight you got the fans that kind said, 'We're with you no matter what,' and the die-hards really came out," said Cammalleri, noting that he also saw a large number of Vancouver fans in the stands. "Actually, you could sense the atmosphere. It was more of an upbeat atmosphere. These fans were awesome tonight. They didn't get down on us. We were down and we were able to come back and win it for them."
Curtis Glencross also scored in the third period for the Flames.
Alexandre Burrows and Jannik Hansen scored for Vancouver. The Canucks had their winning streak snapped at seven, and missed a chance to take a lead over the New York Rangers for the top spot in the overall standings. The Rangers lost 5-2 at Pittsburgh.
"It's definitely frustrating," Canucks goalie Cory Schneider said. "We could've gained some ground for first place, but we've had it taken out of our hands now."
Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 32 shots for Calgary, and Schneider made 25 saves.
The Flames tied it at 1 at 1:27 of the third period when Cammalleri backhanded a rebound up and over Schneider. Jay Bouwmeester took the initial shot on goal from the point. Akim Aliu also drew an assist on the goal in his first NHL game.
"It doesn't mean much in the standings for us, but it means a whole lot to me to show myself for next year," Aliu said.
Glencross then jumped on a turnover by Henrik Sedin in the slot and wired a shot past Schneider for his 26th goal and first in 12 games. Cammalleri added his 20th with 3:37 to go.
"They came hard in the third and they put pucks towards the net and got second chances," Schneider said. "It's uncharacteristic of us to give up a lead like that. I've got to make a couple more saves."
Just 26 seconds later, Hansen scored to pull the Canucks to within a goal.
Burrows opened the scoring with a short-handed goal at 4:36 of the first. He has 28 goals.
"Obviously, at 1-0 we had some opportunities to get the second goal and we didn't," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "That power play had the opportunity to score for us. It didn't. Sometimes that happens. We'll just have to start another streak."
Notes: Aliu, born in Nigeria, drew the starting assignment for the Flames on a line with Cammalleri and Matt Stajan. ... It was the first time this season that the Canucks have lost when leading heading into the third period. Vancouver dropped to 31-1-2 when lead after two periods.