Irving gets 1st NHL win as Flames top Canucks 3-1

Leland Irving made 29 saves for his first NHL victory and the Calgary Flames beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on Friday night.

Curtis Glencross, Mikael Backlund and Olli Jokinen, with an empty-netter in the final minute, each scored as Calgary won its third straight.

Irving preserved the win with a diving save off Daniel Sedin before Jokinen scored the insurance goal. Irving was making only his second NHL start after an earlier call-up this month from Abbotsford of the AHL.

Dan Hamhuis scored for the Canucks, who lost for only the fourth time in 16 games.

The clubs had combined for 12 goals in their two previous meetings this season, but both goalies kept it scoreless through the first 40 minutes.

The game got off to an ornery start as Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa fought Calgary's Tom Kostopoulos just 3 seconds after the opening face-off. Kostopoulos suffered a cut near his left eye and went to the dressing room but eventually returned.

The Flames outshot the Canucks 13-6 in the first period but could not beat Roberto Luongo, who foiled Paul Byron on a breakaway, and stopped Jokinen and Glencross on back-to-back shots.

In the second period, Luongo stopped Lee Stempniak on a breakaway after Vancouver's fourth line had kept the puck in the Calgary zone for a long stretch and was caught on a line change.

Glencross finally opened the scoring 2:36 into the third period as he dashed into the slot and one-timed Jarome Iginla's pass from the corner. Iginla won a battle for the puck with Hamhuis and then slid the puck behind Bieksa as he tried to block the pass.

Irving was forced to make several tough saves through most of the third as the Canucks picked up the pace. Backlund put the Flames ahead 2-0 with 5:52 to go after scooping up a blocked puck and beating Luongo before he could get set.

Hamhuis pulled Vancouver within a goal less than 3 minutes later as he clanked in a wrist shot off the post before Jokinen's empty-netter sealed it for Calgary.

Notes: Calgary played without high-scoring winger Alex Tanguay, who missed his second game with an undisclosed upper-body injury. ... Brent Sutter coached his 200th game with the Flames. ... Vancouver D Keith Ballard missed his third straight game with back spasms. Flames winger Rene Bourque returned to Calgary's lineup after he was suspended two games by the NHL for leaving his feet when delivering a hit on Chicago D Brent Seabrook.