Canucks beat Flames for 7th straight victory
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Roberto Luongo made 43 saves and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Wednesday night to extend their winning streak to seven games and break a tie for the top spot in the overall NHL standings.
Luongo, selected the NHL's second star for December earlier in the week, lost his shutout bid when Tim Jackman scored with 10.8 seconds left.
Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin, with the 10,000th goal in the franchise's 40-year history, scored for the streaking Canucks.
Fresh off a road sweep through Dallas, Colorado and San Jose, Vancouver hasn't lost in regulation in a month (12-0-2) and is 16-1-2 its last 19 to top the NHL with 57 points.
Luongo made his best saves in the first period and added a few more 6 minutes into the third. He also survived a late 6-on-4 after Calgary pulled its goalie while on the power play only to lose the shutout in a last-second scramble.
Miikka Kiprusoff finished with 18 saves for the Flames, who lost their second straight following four wins despite outshooting Vancouver 44-21.
Kesler opened the scoring off the rush — and thanks to some shoddy defending — just 1:10 in. Mason Raymond got around Robyn Regehr in the corner and threw it at the net where Kesler was driving hard to the net behind Jay Bouwmeester to redirect it under Kiprusoff from the top of the crease.
Luongo kept it that way with a good save off Matt Stajan on a similar play a minute later and a 2-on-1 short-handed stop on Curtis Glencross shortly after, and Bieksa put the Canucks ahead 2-0 with 3:48 left in the period.
The Vancouver defenseman led a rush up ice, paused atop the left faceoff circle and waited for the traffic to get to the net before throwing a soft wrist shot through it that somehow skipped under the pads of Kiprusoff.
Sedin deflected Bieksa s point shot just as Kiprusoff reached up to catch the puck, tipping it under the goalie's glove to put Calgary down 3-0 midway through the second period despite outshooting the Canucks 23-12 to that point.
Luongo made a great save off Olli Jokinen in the slot less than a minute later, and dove on the rebound before Jarome Iginla could knock it into an empty net. Luongo added point-blank saves on Stajan and Glencross early in the third.
NOTES: Calgary LW Niklas Hagman was a healthy scratch for the first time all season, replaced by top prospect Mikael Backlund, who was called up from the AHL on Sunday. Bieksa has three goals and four assists in his last six games. He only scored three goals last season — one in the opener against Calgary and two in the season finale against the Flames.