Roberto Luongo had a lot of help in his first start since sustaining an undisclosed upper-body injury Nov. 13 against the New York Islanders
Luongo made 21 saves, Chris Higgins and David Booth each had a goal and two assists and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 5-1 on Sunday night for their sixth victory in their last seven games.
”It was nice to get back in there with a win,” said Luongo, who finished with 21 saves. ”That was the goal, and the boys did a great job tonight.”
Daniel Sedin and Kevin Bieksa had power-play goals and Jannik Hansen also scored to help Vancouver rebound from a 6-5 home loss to Nashville on Thursday night.
”Bobby showed once again why he’s one of the top goalies in the league,” Higgins said. ”I’m really happy I don’t have to shoot on him.”
Luongo returned to action during a rare relief appearance Thursday against the Predators after backup Cory Schneider allowed three goals on Nashville’s first five shots.
”I just felt good all night,” Luongo said. ”I was seeing the puck well, and after the first I didn’t have much. The guys did a really good job of not creating turnovers and making sure that they didn’t have any odd-man rushes.”
Alex Tanguay scored for Calgary, coming off a 5-3 victory in Edmonton on Saturday night.
”The first period was as good of a period as we’ve played all year,” Flames coach Brent Sutter said. ”They got that first goal on us and we stopped moving our feet and stood around and allowed them to take it to us and started making mistakes.”
The Canucks have won 10 of their last 12 games against Calgary.
”It would be great if we could just wave the magic wand and fix it,” Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester about his club’s troubles against Vancouver. ”But we have to try to get over that hump. We haven’t had a lot of success against them but we play them a lot, so if we can turn it around and get some of those points it can go a long way.”
Calgary goalies Henrik Karlsson, who left in the third period with an apparent knee injury, and Miikka Kiprusoff combined for 31 saves. Karlsson left the game with just over 7 minutes gone in the third period after a collision with teammate Tom Kostopoulos.
Notes: Vancouver’s Mason Raymond had an assist in his first game since sustaining a vertebrae compression fracture in the Stanley Cup finals. ”The first one’s under the belt,” Raymond said. ”Unfortunately, it does take a little bit of time to where you want to feel comfortable. But for the first game, I was quite pleased with how things went.” … Vancouver converted two of six power plays and blanked the Flames on four man-advantage opportunities.