Canucks-Flames Preview

With four consecutive victories on their current trip, the

Vancouver Canucks continue to inch closer to their third straight

Northwest Division title.

Looking to match their longest road winning streak of the

season, the Canucks close out their five-game trek Saturday night

against a Calgary Flames team fighting for a playoff spot.

NHL-leading Vancouver (44-16-9) moved 16 points ahead of

second-place Calgary in the division with a 5-4 shootout win over

San Jose on Thursday night.

Since allowing five power-play goals on 16 opportunities over a

0-1-3 stretch that included a 4-3 shootout loss to Calgary on Jan.

22, the Canucks have won 15 of 21 while limiting teams to just six

goals in 80 chances on the man advantage (7.5 percent).

Although the Sharks’ lone power-play goal in seven chances tied

Thursday’s game in the final minute of regulation, Vancouver’s Cory

Schneider stopped a season-high-tying 44 shots through overtime and

all three in the shootout as the Canucks improved to 4-0-0 on this

trip.

“We seem to be winning all sorts of ways and that’s a good

sign,” said Schneider. “They really just kept coming and coming in

the third period. We sort of held the fort and (Alexandre) Burrows

had the big goal in the shootout to get the win.”

While the Canucks, who last won five straight on the road Dec.

23-Jan. 11, have all but clinched a postseason berth, Calgary

(36-25-9) remains one of a handful of teams hoping to claim one of

the last five playoff spots in the Western Conference.

The Flames had averaged 3.8 goals en route to winning eight of

11, but they failed to score for the first time in more than seven

weeks during a 3-0 loss at Phoenix on Thursday night.

“We have to move past this one, and get ready for Vancouver,”

coach Brent Sutter said. “We did not have enough around the net to

get second and third opportunities. Right now, every game is a

challenge because so many teams are battling for playoff

spots.”

Calgary, seeking a season-best fourth consecutive home victory,

could have difficulty scoring again versus Vancouver, as it’s been

held to 1.9 goals per game over a 2-6-0 stretch in the series.

Miikka Kiprusoff, who recorded a 4.75 goals-against average

while starting in each of those eight games, is 8-1-1 with three

shutouts and a 1.87 GAA in his last 11 starts overall.

Kiprusoff allowed a career-high-tying seven goals in a 7-2 loss

the last time the Canucks visited Calgary on Dec. 1 and owns a 3.22

lifetime GAA against Vancouver – his highest versus any West

opponent.

His counterpart has excelled in the series lately. Roberto

Luongo has registered a 1.84 GAA during those last eight games in

the series.

Luongo, though, is just 4-5-0 in his last nine contests overall

and is 8-6-0 with a 3.01 GAA at Scotiabank Saddledome since joining

the Canucks in 2006.

Daniel Sedin tallied a goal and an assist against the Sharks

while Henrik Sedin notched two assists as both extended their

individual point streaks to four games. The brothers have combined

for four goals and 10 assists over that span.

Daniel Sedin, the NHL leader with 86 points, has totaled seven

goals and eight assists during an 11-game scoring streak against

Calgary.

In contrast, Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who leads the team

with 30 goals and 66 points, has just one goal and four assists in

his last 10 meetings with Vancouver.