CALGARY – Nine years after being drafted by the L.A. Kings, Danny Taylor finally earned his first-ever National Hockey League win on Sunday with the Calgary Flames.
Making just his second career NHL start, Danny Taylor stopped 29-of-31 shots he faced to backstop the Flames to a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
“I’m a big visualizer so I’ve seen it a few times in my head,” said Taylor, who was chosen by the Kings in the seventh round (221st overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. “To actually go through it, it’s pretty cool. I’m very happy obviously. A lot of credit has to go to the guys in front of me. They played so well. They cleared a lot of rebounds.”
Calgary coach Bob Hartley was pleased to see Taylor bounce back with a great effort after allowing four goals on 37 shots during a 4-0 road loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in his only other NHL start on Feb. 18.
“I felt that he was nervous in the first period after a couple shots, but after this he regained his composure,” Hartley said. “He was solid for the entire game.
“It’s a big moment—first victory. He’ll remember that one for a long time.”
Jarome Iginla scored the game-winning goal at 12:36 of the third period to lead the Flames (8-8-4) to the win over the Canucks (11-6-4).
After scoring just once in his first 16 games of the season, Iginla now has five goals in the past four contests.
Mike Cammalleri scored a pair of goals for the Flames, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Lee Stempniak finished with a goal and an assist, while Jiri Hudler set up a pair of goals.
Jannik Hansen had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who have lost three of their past four games. Chris Higgins also scored for Vancouver, which beat the L.A. Kings 5-2 one night earlier at home.
“I don’t think it’s a game that got away,” said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. “I’m really proud of the way that we competed and battled tonight. We never used excuses, went out and played really hard, and in my opinion we deserved a better outcome.”
Roberto Luongo made 21 saves in the Vancouver net in a losing cause.
Due to a snow storm, the Canucks didn’t even arrive at the Calgary airport until 3:30 p.m., just 2-1/2 hours before game time.
Nonetheless, it was Vancouver that opened the scoring at 7:49 of the first period when Higgins took a breakaway pass from Hansen and then snapped a shot to the blocker side past Taylor.
“Once we showed up a couple hours before it was all business and guys got ready,” said Vancouver forward Alex Burrows.
The Flames pulled even late in the first when Cammalleri wired a shot from just inside the blue-line past Luongo. The veteran Vancouver netminder actually got a piece of the puck with his glove hand, but it still managed to sneak past him and into the net.
Early in the second period, Luongo made a great kick save with his left pad to stop a shot off the stick of Sven Baertschi. Seconds later at the other end of the ice, Hansen batted a rebound out of the air and past Taylor to put the Canucks up 2-1.
Stempniak then tied up the game once again when he converted a feed from Matt Stajan at 6:15 of the middle frame.
Iginla’s game-winning goal came just one second after a bench-minor penalty to Vancouver expired.
“We said coming in we’ve just got to throw a lot of pucks on net and just get an ugly one which we did,” said Flames defenceman Mark Giordano, who also drew an assist on the play.
Iginla attempted a centring pass to Jiri Hudler who was driving hard to the net and the puck deflected off Canucks defenceman Jason Garrison and past a stunned Luongo.
“Yeah, it was off of Jason,” Luongo said. “It’s not his fault. It was just a bad break. It’s unfortunate that it had to happen at that time of the game and it turned out to be the winning goal. It’s just a bad break there.”
Cammalleri then added an empty-net goal to seal the victory.
Notes: After being acquired on Thursday in a trade with the Nashville Predators for Joe Piskula, Brian McGratton made his debut on Sunday with the Flames. … McGratton fought Vancouver tough guy Tom Sestito, who the Canucks claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, in the second period. Following the fight, McGratton saluted the crowd and was assessed a 10-minute misconduct in addition to a five-minute major. … With his goal, Higgins extended his scoring streak to four games. He has registered three goals and an assist in that span.