Flames warm up offence to down Canucks
Jonas Hiller makes 34 saves in Calgary victory
The Calgary Flames are hoping this performance was a sign of things to come.
Jonas Hiller made 34 saves, helping the Flames to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
Michael Frolik, Mikael Backlund and Sam Bennett each had a goal and an assist, and Sean Monahan also scored for Calgary, which rebounded from a 2-1 loss to Columbus on Friday night.
"It was one of those games we really needed," Hiller said. "I thought we played pretty decent last night, didn't get a win. In the position we're at, every single point's really important."
T.J. Brodie added two assists as the Flames snapped a 1-4-0 slide.
"We need to play every game like it's a Game 7," Frolik said. "It's going to be like that for the rest of the season. We need that mindset."
Emerson Etem had the lone goal for Vancouver, and Ryan Miller stopped 26 shots as the Canucks dropped their fourth straight.
"It's frustrating and we've got to start turning the corner and use this as motivation," Miller said. "We can't hang our heads and say, `Oh well it happened again.' We've got to start digging ourselves out. No one else can do it but us, so start digging."
The Flames beat the Canucks in a tight six-game series in the first round of last year's postseason, but both clubs currently sit outside of the Western Conference playoff picture.
"The points are slipping away," said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, whose team has scored three goals over its last three games. "I see enough chances for us to score more goals, but there have been a few too many games we have come up with one [goal] and that's not enough."
Frolik finished off a nice passing play with Backlund and Brodie on a 3-on-2 rush for his ninth of the season 6:25 into the second period to give the Flames the lead.
Vancouver started to come to life later in the period, with Etem trying Hiller on a wraparound before Sedin fired just wide from a sharp angle on the power play.
Dan Hamhuis had another chance moments after the man advantage expired, and Hiller made another stop on Sven Baertschi on the rebound.
"Hills was outstanding," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "We got the lead, but they kept coming."
Hamhuis returned to the lineup after missing 21 games with facial fractures. The veteran defenseman, who wore a modified cage against Calgary, took a slap shot to the mouth in a scary incident on Dec. 9 and had his jaw wired shut until early January.
After the Flames had a goal waved off because of a hand pass eight minutes into the third, Monahan sealed the win with his 16th of the season at 15:07 on a one-timer from the slot that beat Miller over the blocker.
The Canucks, who lost 2-1 to Columbus in a shootout Thursday, pulled Miller for an extra attacker, but Backlund scored his sixth into an empty net with 2:15 left.
Etem, with his first of the season, got a consolation goal at 18:26, but Vancouver fell to 1-3-2 in its last six.
Bennett scored another empty-net goal, his 14th, with 35.9 seconds left.