Canucks, Flames meet for 1st time
Last Updated: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | 8:15 AM PT
The Associated Press
The Calgary Flames believe Miikka Kiprusoff is back on track. That should be tested against a Vancouver Canucks team that has gotten the better of him in recent matchups.
The Northwest Division rivals play the first of their six meetings this season Wednesday night when the Flames host the Canucks (9:30 p.m. ET).
Kiprusoff made 32 saves for his third shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory over Minnesota on Monday. He improved to 2-2-0 with a 1.73 goals-against average in his last four starts after going 1-3-1 with a 3.41 GAA over his previous five for Calgary (10-12-2).
"The last three games he has been rock-solid in those areas where he's got his angles, he isn't letting shots go through him," coach Brent Sutter said. "When Kipper plays that way, pucks are hitting him in the crest, he sees the puck very well."
Kiprusoff didn't enjoy much success last season against Vancouver (12-7-3), going 3-3-0 with a 4.69 GAA. He was pulled in three of his last four starts versus the Canucks, twice after the first period.
The Canucks scored 23 goals in the 2009-10 season series, with Henrik Sedin contributing two goals and nine assists and Daniel Sedin five and four.
"Every opponent is a tough opponent," Sutter said. "And we know Vancouver, obviously, their team, the way they play."
Vancouver, meanwhile, did a good job of limiting Jarome Iginla to one goal and one assist in the six meetings.
Roberto Luongo is 3-0-1 with a 1.72 GAA in his last four starts against the Flames.
Iginla snapped a three-game goalless drought on Monday. He's got 10 points in his last seven games.
"I've been skating a little bit better, playing with a little more confidence and just playing. Trying to compete and play hard and not think too much," Iginla said.
Vancouver has won consecutive games after an 0-3-1 stretch, beating Colorado 4-2 last Wednesday and San Jose 6-1 on Friday. Mikael Samuelsson had two goals against the Sharks as twelve different Canucks had at least one point.
"We got away from it but are on the right track again," Samuelsson said. "I said it since I came here, you win with all four lines. Look at other teams that win something and it's the third and fourth lines that keep coming at you."
Luongo made 33 saves for his sixth win at home. He's 3-5-1 with a 3.23 GAA on the road.
"We're trying to do things the right way and improve as a team and we're taking advantage of the other team's mistakes and that's the type of hockey you want to be playing," Luongo told the Canucks' official website.
Defenceman Kevin Bieksa was a late scratch with the flu, and replaced by Aaron Rome. Bieksa is expected to return Wednesday.
The Canucks have one power-play goal in their last 14 chances, although they remain one of the league's best at 25.3 per cent. Their penalty kill has also been excellent at 86.9 per cent.
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