Toronto, Canada – By Steve Keating
VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Jamie Lundmark forced overtime before scoring the shootout winner for the Calgary Flames in a hard fought 3-2 victory over Northwest Division rivals the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
Lundmark has seen very little ice time this season but the minor league call-up made the most of his latest opportunity, slipping the puck between Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo's pads to send Calgary's back to the top of the division.
The center scored in similar fashion late in the second sending a bouncing puck between Luongo's legs to level the contest at 2-2 and set the stage for overtime.
"I kind of had an idea of what I was going to do and it just worked," Lundmark told reporters.
"I always seem to come up from the minors and play with Olli (Jokinen) and Iggy (Jarome Iginla) but I'm just trying to go out there and do whatever I can to help the team win as long as we get two points that's the biggest thing for me."
With the two rivals sitting top the Northwest standings on the same number of points, the contest took on a distinct playoff feel with plenty of crunching hits, thrash-talking and fights.
"We look at the standings and know it's a big game against maybe our biggest rivals," Flames captain Iginla said.
"Mid-season that's as close as it's going to get to a playoff game.
"It's always pretty spirited when we play each other but it was definitely playoff atmosphere being tied top of the division."
Rene Bourque opened the scoring for the Flames midway through the first on a superb individual effort, out-racing a defender along the boards then slicing toward the net and flipping the puck past Luongo.
Vancouver pulled level before the end of the period through Mikael Samuelsson, then took the lead in the second with the kind of goal only identical twin brothers could manufacture.
Driving toward the Flames net, NHL leading scorer Henrik Sedin pulled Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff toward him before slipping a blind back-pass to his brother Daniel, who hammered into the gaping net.
The two teams would again go into the intermission deadlocked, however, after Lundmark netted the equaliser midway through the period.
The rest of the game was a goaltending duel, featuring two players who could figure prominently in next month's Vancouver Olympics.
Luongo, who is making his case for the starting assignment in the Team Canada net, had the far busier night facing 40 shots, while Canucks could manage only 21 on Finland's Kiprusoff.
(Editing by John O'Brien)