Canucks 4, Flames 2
Mikael Samuelsson scored the two most important goals just 2:40 apart, and was more interested in talking about his teammates.
Samuelsson scored twice through screens midway through the second period, Alex Burrows added his second into an empty net and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Saturday night.
Tim Jackman and Curtis Glencross scored 2:06 apart early in the second to put Calgary ahead. But Samuelsson tied it with a shot through Ryan Kesler's screen at 10:40, and scored again with a power-play one-timer from the point through Daniel Sedin's screen less than three minutes later.
''My second goal would never go in,'' Samuelsson said of Sedin parking himself in front of Miikka Kiprusoff. ''It's not about only the goal scored. That's even more important, get in front or finish hits or whatever it is. It's not all about the points and the goals.''
Samuelsson has plenty of both lately, with seven goals and 14 points in his last eight games, after recording just one assist in the previous 14 contests.
Part of the resurgence, Samuelsson said, has to do with being moved back to the second line with Kesler and Mason Raymond, who had two assists. Part of it is manning the point on the first power-play unit in place of the injured Alex Edler. Part of it is being over a nagging leg injury.
And part of it is not worrying too much when the points weren't coming.
''I'm not only here to score goals, but when it doesn't go in for you, what are you going to do?'' he said. ''You gotta stick with it and believe in yourself. Everybody is important to the team and not everyone puts points up.''
That was especially true of the penalty killers Saturday.
Burrows opened the scoring on a power play that went 2 for 3, and helped kill off three straight Calgary power plays in the third period as the Canucks bounced back from a 4-3 loss to Anaheim on Wednesday - just their third in regulation in more than two months.
''Our penalty kill has been good all year and come up big in crucial situations and no different tonight, said Roberto Luongo, who made 24 saves to remain unbeaten in regulation since Dec. 5 (16-0-5).
Vancouver moved four points ahead of Philadelphia atop the NHL, and nine up on Detroit in the West.
Kiprusoff finished 29 saves for the Flames, who were coming off an overtime loss to Anaheim on Friday night.
Calgary lost in regulation for the first time in 11 games (8-1-2). It jumped from 14th to eighth in the Western Conference with the run, but the losses dropped it back to ninth, a point behind Minnesota for the final playoff spot.
''It was a playoff game where you give up a couple power-play goals and don't get any, that was the difference in the game,'' Calgary coach Brent Sutter said. ''In our last 23 games that's what, four regulation losses, so it's been a pretty good run here and now we just get recharged.''
Calgary had three chances to tie it on the power play, but couldn't convert against a defense that lost Keith Ballard (knee sprain), Dan Hamhuis (concussion) and Edler (back surgery) in the last two weeks. Veteran Sami Salo did play his first NHL game since tearing his Achilles' tendon in July, but he was in the penalty box for one of the Flames' third-period advantages.
''Obviously special teams were key tonight when they had their biggest push,'' Salo said. ''Once I started to play solid minutes I felt a little better.''
Rene Bourque did hit the post on a backhand from the slot late in the second chance. But that was the closest the Flames came to beating Luongo, who forced Brendan Morrison wide on a partial breakaway, robbed Olli Jokinen twice with his blocker and stuffed Matt Stajan on a 2-on-1 in the final 10 minutes.
''We didn't think it was over going into the third,'' Luongo said.
NOTES: Burrows extended his point streak to nine games (eight goals, three assists) - the longest active run in the NHL. ... Glencross scored for a fourth straight game. ... Calgary LW Alex Tanguay missed a third straight game with a neck strain. ... Canucks C Manny Malhotra assisted on both Burrows goals, his first points in 20 games. ... Veteran Calgary D Steve Staios played a second straight game ahead of Brendan Mikkelson after missing almost two months with injury and sitting out three games as a healthy scratch.