Canucks take shootout over Flames
Mason Raymond scored the shootout winner Saturday night as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 2-1 at the Saddledome.
In a game in which goaltenders Miikka Kiprusoff and Roberto Luongo battled each other for 65 minutes, they carried it over to the shootout with Raymond being the only one of 10 shooters to score.
Cutting in on Kiprusoff from the left side, Raymond quickly stopped and, as Kiprusoff slid to the ice, he cut back and jammed the puck into the open side.
Despite the end result, Calgary coach Brent Sutter was impressed with his No. 1 netminder.
"[It] was definitely Miikka's best game," said Sutter. "He was very solid, a lot of pucks hit him the chest and you could tell in the shootout tonight, he was under control. He played really well."
Luongo clinched the victory, thwarting Anton Stralman in the shootout after earlier turning aside Nigel Dawes, Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen and David Moss.
Moss scored the lone goal in regulation for Calgary (3-2-2), which wrapped up its NHL pre-season schedule.
Mikael Samuelsson scored for Vancouver (7-0-1).
On winning streak
The Canucks, who wrap up their pre-season Sunday in Edmonton, join the New Jersey Devils (3-0-1) as the only teams without a regulation loss in the pre-season.
The lineup Calgary iced against Vancouver to conclude its pre-season schedule will likely be close to the same group that suits up against the Canucks when the two teams meet to open the regular season Thursday night on Hockey Night in Canada (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. PT).
"It was a gutsy effort," said Luongo. "We all saw the lineup they had and we had a lot of veterans sitting out tonight. It's not an easy thing to do, to come into this building and play toe-to-toe with those guys and get a big win."
Vancouver chose to rest several regulars, including Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows, Steve Bernier, Kyle Wellwood and defensive mainstays Kevin Bieksa, Sami Salo and Willie Mitchell.
The Canucks outshot the Flames 36-25.
The game between the Northwest Division rivals got off to a predictably rugged start with Darcy Hordichuk and Calgary's Brandon Prust dropping the gloves five seconds into the game.
After a scoreless first period, Calgary opened the scoring at 7:31 of the second period when Moss crashed the net and whacked Craig Conroy's rebound past Luongo.
End of the tunnel
"When you get here and training camp gets going, you're excited, but as the pre-season goes on, you see the light at the end of the tunnel and you want to get the regular season going," said Moss.
"You're trying to play well and get your systems down, but obviously the real test is Thursday and these pre-season games are just time for you to get your systems down and get your legs going."
Vancouver tied it at 15:07 of the second when Samuelsson spun and fired a low shot from the top of the faceoff circle that squeaked under Kiprusoff.
It was the lone flaw in a busy second for the Flames goaltender, who stopped 16 of 17 shots in the period. Before allowing his goal, Kiprusoff made a spectacular glove save off Samuelsson, who had strayed uncontested to within 10 feet of the net and targeted a shot for the top corner.
Kiprusoff had 35 saves to finish with a 2-0-1 pre-season record.
Luongo played the entire game and improved to 4-0 in the exhibition schedule. The clutch save of the evening for Luongo came midway through the third when he smothered a shot from Iginla after the Flames captain had been sent in alone on a pass from Moss.