VANCOUVER, B.C. – Jamie Lundmark’s performance Saturday night earned him a chance to stay in the NHL for a little while longer.
A day after being called up from the minors, Lundmark scored the shootout winner and added a goal in regulation as the Calgary Flames edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2.
“It’s good to contribute anytime I’m up,” said Lundmark, who was recalled from Abbotsford Heat of the AHL. “Obviously I’m here to do a job and help the team win and that’s what I try to do every night, whether it’s scoring shootout goals or doing whatever.”
The 28-year-old Edmonton native was drafted ninth overall by the New York Rangers in 1999. At times, however, he has struggled to transfer his prolific scoring abilities at the junior level to the NHL.
Lundmark helped the Flames (26-14-5) move into sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division, a point ahead of the Canucks (27-16-2), who saw their four-game win streak end.
“It was huge,” said Lundmark of the win. “From last night coming off a loss, I think everybody stepped up tonight and played well.”
After being criticized by coach Brent Sutter for a poor performance in a loss to Columbus on Friday, the Flames outshot the Canucks 40-21. But the game was tied 1-1 after the first period and 2-2 after the second.
“We’re disappointed with the loss, obviously, but we found a way to get it to overtime,” said Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo. “So the game was right there for us.”
Rene Bourque added the other Calgary goal while Mikael Samuelsson and Daniel Sedin scored for the Canucks. Alex Burrows, denied in his unlikely quest to become the first NHLer to record three straight hat tricks, recorded an assist.
“Louie was great, that’s for sure,” said Burrows. “I think, for the most part, they outworked us in a lot of areas.”
Vancouver was forced to use two new defencemen, Evan Oberg and Brad Lukowich. Oberg is a rookie who made his NHL debut after being called up Friday from Manitoba of the AHL. Lukowich was summoned a week earlier from Manitoba.
They filled in for Sami Salo and Aaron Rome, who both suffered cut eyes during Thursday’s win over Phoenix.
“Four of our defence had a little bit more minutes than usual,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. “It can be challenging but at the end of the day, whether they get a few minutes or not, that shouldn’t stop the rest of the group from playing real hard and we just weren’t good enough tonight.”
Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff only faced 21 shots but made some timely saves. He won for only the second time in seven games at General Motors Place. And, according to Sutter, he was at a disadvantage because of dirty tricks from the crowd.
Sutter said a fan was directing a laser pointer at the Finnish veteran in an effort to distract him.
“It was going on all night,” said Sutter. “It was brought to the attention of the refs and security, and it’s hard to believe that can go on for 60 mintues in a hockey game and it’s not located and not found.
“It was a distraction to our goaltender and security did mention they were trying to locate it, but I heard after the game it was spotted on TV where it was at. So it’s too bad it went 60 minutes of a hockey game and never was rectified.”
The Canucks took a 2-1 lead at 4:41 of the second as Daniel Sedin converted a highlight-reel play with his twin brother Henrik, the NHL’s scoring leader. Henrik Sedin raced in on a breakaway, cut in front of the net as Kiprusoff followed him, and then unexpectedly dished a backhand pass to his brother, who was left with a wide open net.
It was only Vancouver’s sixth shot of the game.
Lundmark drew the Flames even just over five minutes later, setting the stage for his own shootout heroics.
“He had an opportunity earlier in the year and played very well and he’s someone that brings skill – and it’s always nice to have that,” said Sutter.
Notes: Canucks opted to bring up Oberg instead of veteran defenceman Mathieu Schneider, who walked out on the team in December. …Burrows’ back-to-back hat tricks were the first in the NHL since Ilya Kovalchuk’s pair in 2007. Only two other Canucks, Petri Skriko in 1986 and Bobby Schmautz in 1972, have recorded two hat tricks in a row. …Vancouver’s Rick Rypien and Calgary’s Brandon Prust fought twice. …calgary defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, the NHL’s ironman, played in his 387th straight game while Henrik Sedin, the runnerup, played in his 380th consecutive contest.