CANUCKS 5 @ FLAMES 4 (OT)
The Vancouver Canucks (1-0-0) can string together their first winning streak of the season tonight as they face the Calgary Flames (0-1-0) in the back end of a home-and-home series. It won't be easy though, despite skating circles around the Flames two nights ago in an embarrassing 6-0 win in their home opener, the Canucks are up against a very talented Flames team, one that is looking for a little redemption. A good start to this game is a must for both teams, as is setting a physical presence early. Roberto Luongo looked great in the season opener as he turned aside all 25 shots thrown his way for his 39th career shutout, so did Vancouver's top line of Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Steve Bernier. The trio combined for six points and another inspired offensive output like that will surely help the Canucks put out the Flames once again.
A few notes on Calgary's line-up: Robyn Regehr will be back for the Flames, he didn't play on Thursday because his wife was giving birth to the couples first child, a healthy baby boy, Brandon Prust will take the place of Dustin Boyd on offence and on defence Adam Pardy is in.
No word on Vancouver's scratches yet, I'll let you know what I know as soon as I know it.
It's the Canucks versus the Flames and it's next!
20:00 - Derek here with you again today, thanks for tuning in. This is going to some game, the Pengrowth Saddledome is booming as the zamboni does a few final laps of the ice. These Calgary fans want a win and they want it bad.
20:00 - As expected Roberto Luongo and Miikka Kiprusoff are between the pipes for their respected teams, Kipper's gotta be feeling the pressure in this one. There's nothing quite like giving up six goals on 23 shots to start the season on a high note. He'll surely play better tonight so Captain Luongo will have to be on his game as well, which is nothing to be concerned about, Louie's always on his game.
20:00 - I just saw the new Hockey Night in Canada opening for the first time, not too shabby, nice to see Trevor Linden factor into it. It's just weird not hearing the same old song though, am I right?
18:37 - Calgary has come out hitting, Daymond Langkow just line-up Sami Salo and Jarome Iginla hammered Darcy Hordichuk near the Flames' bench.
17:48 - 1 - 0 VANCOUVER - Steve Bernier stole the puck at the Calgary blueline from Robyn Regehr, Henrik Sedin worked it down low to Daniel Sedin to the right of the net, he flew out in front of the net with authority and snuck it under Kipper's right arm. That was Vancouver's first shot of the game and what a shot it was.
17:13 - 1 - 1 TIE - Calgary just reignited the crowd with a goal of their own. A scramble in front of the Canucks net sees the puck end up on the stick of tough guy Andre Roy who ripped it past Luongo.
15:48 - Craig Conroy knocked down Luongo behind the Vancouver net and was thought to be called for goaltender interference, instead Louie is assessed a diving penalty. I don't know about that call, then again I'm not a blind ref. Mason Raymond is serving the penalty.
15:48 - Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa just went to the Vancouver bench favoring his right leg.
13:25 - Bieksa is back on the ice, during the commercial break he did a few short laps in the Vancouver zone. He appears to be alright and hopefully he can stay in the game. Bieksa only played 34 games last year because of injury so it's good to see him back on the ice in Calgary.
11:55 - Pavol Demitra is showing some crafty stick work behind the Calgary net, he worked the puck out to Taylor Pyatt who was stopped by Kipper. The line of Demitra, Pyatt and Raymond has been fun to watch in this first period.
10:34 - 2 - 1 CALGARY - Langkow lost his stick on the left hand boards in the Vancouver zone but managed to kick it back to the point, Mark Giordano fired the shot from the point and got it past Luongo. Todd Bertuzzi was running a screen in front and may have tipped the puck. (The goal was awarded to Bertuzzi, it's his first as a Flame)
9:57 - 3 - 1 CALGARY - Flames won the draw in the Vancouver zone, they got another solid shot from the point, Louie made the first save but Mike Cammalleri scooped it up on the left side of the net, he passed it over to Rene Bourque who scored his first of the season. Two Calgary goals in 37 seconds and Vancouver trails 3-1.
9:36 - Willie Mitchell and Jarome Iginla just threw down, both players got some solid shots in, Mitchell landed the first good round of punches but Iggy held his own with a crushing last punch right to the face. The two are broken up when Iginla fell to the ice. This game feels more like a playoff game, it's heated and is making for some great hockey.
6:44 - Just heard Bieksa went back to the Vancouver dressing room, it's still not clear where he's hurting. I'll be surprised if he returns in this game, he looked to be in a fair amount of pain when he headed off the ice.
4:43 - There is no love loss between Bertuzzi and the Canucks. The big brute just carried the puck into Vancouver's zone and flicked a shot at Luongo, he saw it all the way and nabbed it easily. O'Brien was right in Bertuzzi's face following the shot as the pair exchanged recipes.
3:41 - Mattias Ohlund is off to the box for interference after taking out Calgary's David Moss in front of the Calgary bench. The Flames are 0-for-1 on the power play.
3:22 - Bertuzzi just evened things out as he interfered with Salo at the Canucks blueline and is also in the box. Some good four-on-four hockey is now on the menu.
2:15 - Henrik Sedin takes a seat for holding, the Flames will be on the power play for almost the rest of the period.
00:07 - Calgary poured it on with the man advantage, they had three good chances to increase their lead but Luongo wouldn't allow it.
00:00 - The Canucks head to the dressing room down 3-1 having been outshot 11-7. Vancouver started the period off well, but fell apart down the stretch. Some regrouping will do them good right now. Face-offs are even at 12 wins each, the Canucks finished 0-for-2 on the PP, the Flames were 0-for-4.
20:00 - Bieksa will apparently not return to the game tonight, his right knee seems to be the problem.
18:37 - The Canucks have come out strong this period, first the Sedin, Sedin, Bernier line had two good chances to score, not Demitra, Pyatt and Raymond are cycling the puck well in the Flames' zone.
17:15 - Hordichuk and Roy decided to scrap but nothing came of the short skirmish. The pair exchanged about six punches each before Roy lost his footing and tumbled to the ice.
17:13 - Rick Rypien and Brandon Prust, perhaps inspired by Hordichuk and Roy's quick tussle, dropped the gloves right after the ensuing face-off. Prust got worked over by Rypien, who fed him more lefts than anyone should get in a fight, he was swinging for the fences and he wins this one in a landslide. That should spark the Canucks a bit.
14:45 - Luongo didn't look overly sharp in the opening period, but he just made up for is with a great diving save on Bourque. The Calgary forward had an open cage on the left side of the net but he couldn't pull the trigger fast enough and Bobby Lu robbed him.
13:45 - Ohlund is in the box for holding, Langkow's in for tripping, it's four-on-four for two or less.
12:19 - There were some nice end to end rushes by both teams yet no real scoring chances, the teams are back at even strength.
11:19 - 3 - 2 CALGARY - Rypien won the face off in the Calgary zone, he got the puck to Ryan Johnson who held onto it long enough for Rypien to sneak to the left side of the net. Johnson fired the puck across and Rypien one-timed it in for his second goal in two games.
10:17 - 3 - 3 TIE - Vancouver tied it up thanks to the speed of their third line, Ryan Kesler just flew into the Calgary zone and made his way past Giordano with ease. He dished it to Jannik Hansen who got off a hard shot that was saved by Kipper, but the rebound came out to Kes who somehow got it into the net. That might have gone in off a Flames player.
6:33 - These teams have turned up the tempo in this game, they're blazing end to end playing like a trip to the Cup finals is on the line. Great energy from both teams.
5:42 - 4 - 3 CALGARY - Bourque is to blame for Calgary regaining the lead, he skated into the Vancouver zone, threw a tough shot at Luongo who turned it aside, but some poor rebound control put the puck onto the stick of Cammalleri who easily swatted it in. A heads up play from Dion Phaneuf got the puck to Bourque which allowed him to march into the zone, Phaneuf saw that the Canucks were changing and he banked the puck off the boards up to Bourque who did his thing.
2:10 - Vancouver just squandered a chance to even things up again with Craig Conroy in the sin bin for hooking. They are now 0-for-5 on the power play.
00:00 - A more competitive second period saw the Canucks outscore the Flames 2-1 and outshoot them 17-9. If they can carry the momentum they had throughout the middle frame into the final 20, they should be able to come back in this one to at least force overtime. The Sedins and Bernier have been the best line for Vancouver tonight and they'll be leaned on again for some offence in the third period.
20:00 - Vancouver was 2-29-2 when trailing after two periods last season...
17:50 - Pyatt just knocked down Kipprusoff in the Calgary net, he'll sit for two. Good thing Vancouver has been great on the penalty kill so far this game, they've held Calgary at bay in each of their five chances.
15:42 - The Canucks killed off the penalty nicely. On their final dump in they almost evened the game up at 4-4, Alex Burrows beat the Flames down the ice and got the puck behind the Calgary net, he hit Rypien with a nice pass but it went off the heel of his stick and went wide.
13:50 - 4 - 4 TIE - Vancouver's top line just connected again, some good work down low by Bernier got the puck to Henrik behind the net, he threw it out front to Daniel who snapped a quick shot past Kipper. The Sedins and Bernier have now combined for two goals and three assists with seven shots on goal, all courtesy of D. Sedin.
12:20 - Captain Louie is keeping the Canucks in this one, Iginla just blasted a laser at him, but he handled it nicely. Calgary is swarming a bit right now. They now have three shots in the period.
9:18 - This game is getting physical again, Edler just took a shot at Conroy, both teams will have to be careful to avoid taking a penalty here in the late stages of the game.
8:16 - Phaneuf just dangled into the Vancouver zone nicely, he got a good shot off that sailed just wide of the net, but he drew a penalty on the play. Edler is in the box for hooking, great chance here for Calgary.
6:15 - Vancouver killed off the penalty, Calgary didn't record any shots and is now 0-for-7 when up a man.
4:50 - Raymond just had a great chance. Going one on one with James Vandermeer, Raymond used his speed to get a hard shot off but he just missed the net. It's a play like that that's going to win this game for the Canucks.
3:00 - There team's aren't playing for overtime, they're just as aggressive now as they were to start the game.
2:29 - The fans wanted a penalty there, Salo, just trying to clear the puck out of Vancouver's zone, kicked it up and over the glass. The can't shoot it out of play, but you can kick it.
1:26 - Bertuzzi just ran Johnson into the boards from behind, not a smart play at all my friend, you're headed to the box. Vancouver will be a man up for the rest of the period and :34 seconds of overtime, should the Canucks not score.
1:26 - Tuzzi is arguing this call, as is Mike Keenan, who is calling for a diving penalty. Johnson did sell that call, there's no argument there.
00:56 - No shots yet on the power play, the Sedins had something brewing before the puck deflected out of play.
00:00 - The Canucks got some great shots off but couldn't beat Kipper, we're headed to overtime, oh baby!
5:00 - Bertuzzi remains in the sin bin for another :34 seconds so Vancouver will be up four players to three.
4:16 - Penalty over, no real good chances for the Canucks to start overtime.
3:46 - Ohlund is shaking his head on the Vancouver bench, he just had the game on his stick. Alone in the slot he shot the puck wide, if that hits the net the Canucks end this game.
1:53 - No real chances in the last couple minutes as the teams buckle down on defence.
1:06 - 5 - 4 VANCOUVER - Cammalleri turned the puck over in the Vancouver zone, that led to a 2-on-1 for Burrows and Demitra. Burrows faked the shot before taking the puck into the crease and passing it to Demitra who shot it in on the right side. CANUCKS WIN! CANUCKS WIN! CANUCKS WIN!
FINAL SCORE: VANCOUVER 5 - CALGARY 4 (OT)