CALGARY – There’s something about coming home to Calgary that seems to bring out the best in Mason Raymond.
The Vancouver winger scored three times, including a pivotal short-handed goal, and added an assist as the Canucks routed the Calgary Flames 7-2 Wednesday.
Raymond’s momentum-changing goal came 1:03 into the third period with the Canucks short handed and nursing a one-goal lead.
After Roberto Luongo saved a dangerous shot from Calgary forward Alex Tanguay, Raymond chipped the puck past pinching defenceman Jay Bouwmeester and raced up the ice on a breakaway, beating Miikka Kiprusoff on a pretty deke to his forehand.
“Maybe it’s the home-cooked meal,” said Raymond, who now has two career hat tricks, both in Calgary against the Flames.
The four points for Raymond, a native of nearby Cochrane, Alta., are a career high.
“It’s a lot of fun playing in front of your friends and family,” said Raymond. “The team played really well and I had some good bounces tonight.”
The goal put Vancouver up 4-2 and swung the momentum entirely in the Canucks favour. Vancouver scored three more goals to blow open what was a close, physical, back-and-forth game for two periods.
“Seven goals… that’s a pretty good kick at home,” said Flames coach Brent Sutter. “What stings more is the way we handled our third period. That’s unacceptable. That tells you that we have a lot of work to do. That is what bothers me more than anything.”
The Flames seemed to have the momentum heading into the third period after killing off a five-minute penalty. Calgary’s Curtis Glencross was given a five minute major and a game misconduct for cross-checking Canucks defenceman Keith Ballard in the face late in the second period.
The Flames survived the lengthy penalty kill against the NHL’s top ranked power play, keeping them within a goal after two periods.
“You’re in the game when it’s 3-2 and with all the situations that occurred going into the third period, the cards were laid out for us to rise to the occasion,” said Sutter.
After Burrows made it 5-2, Sutter showed his frustration putting out five defenceman for the final 30 seconds of a third-period power play.
“We weren’t doing anything on it,” explained Sutter. “I didn’t think our forwards were working very hard on it. The first unit went out there and they never spent any time in the offensive zone whatsoever so I thought I’d give the defencemen an opportunity.”
The unit of Bouwmeester, Brendan Mikkelson, Robyn Regehr, Anton Babchuk and Cory Sarich proved no more offensively potent.
“Our PK did the job in the second, but the power play in the third let us down,” said Iginla.
Alex Burrows, Jeff Tambellini, Daniel Sedin, and Dan Hamhuis also scored for Vancouver (13-7-3), which was playing for the first time since Friday. The Canucks moved past Colorado back into top spot in the Northwest Division.
Tim Jackman and Alex Tanguay scored for Calgary (10-13-2). The Flames have dropped five of their last seven on home ice.
“We were playing a good hockey game for two periods, and we’re coming off a big win (3-0 over Minnesotda). You have to keep that going, it’s huge, it’s crucial to having success. To let it go again, it’s painful,” said Sarich.
Vancouver opened the scoring two minutes into the first period when Raymond took advantage of a bad shift by Mikkelson.
The speedy Canucks forward scooted around Mikkelson in the Flames corner, then spun and banked a shot off Mikkelson’s skate past Kiprusoff.
Tambellini made it 2-0 when his shot along the ice from the slot went through the pads of Kiprusoff, who was screened by Kesler.
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault complimented the play of the speedy Raymond-Tambellini-Kesler trio.
“Obviously (Raymond) had a real, huge night,” Vigneault said. “That whole line tonight, it was intimidating as far as their speed and puck control. They made some great plays.”
The Canucks went up 3-1 on the power play at 3:05 of the second when Henrik Sedin’s wicked shot from the side boards clanked off the mask of Kiprusoff, temporarily staggeringhim.
The rebound dropped at the feet of Kesler who slid the puck to an open Daniel Sedin in front, and he quickly fired his team-leading 14th goal into the open side.
The Flames struck back right away when Tanguay banked shot in off Luongo’s back.
Notes: It was the first of six meetings between the two teams… Vancouver C Henrik Sedin leads the NHL in assists (27) but has not scored in his last 11 and has just two goals on the season. Entering December a year ago, he had already scored 14 goals… Henrik Sedin is second in the NHL in consecutive games played (440). He trails Calgary D Jay Bouwmeester (449)… Bouwmeester entered the night No. 1 on the Flames in plus-minus (plus-8)… Vancouver D Kevin Bieksa returned after missing one game with pneumonia… Babchuk has yet to collect a point in eight games since being acquired from Carolina on Nov. 17.