With family members from Sweden watching from the stands, the Sedin brothers put on a show.
Henrik Sedin scored the game winner and Daniel Sedin added a spectacular spin-a-rama goal as the Vancouver Canucks upped their home unbeaten streak to 11 games with a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday. “I hope they liked the game,” Daniel said of his crew, who were in town for Christmas. “It was a fun game tonight – chances at both ends and a lot of creative plays.”
The prettiest play came from Daniel, who in the first period took a pass from Henrik, approached Calgary defenceman Cory Sarich head-on and then quickly spun to his left and whipped a 15-foot backhand between a shaky Miikka Kiprusoff’s legs to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead.
The soldout crowd of 18,630 at GM Place erupted with joy for one of Vancouver’s prettiest goals of the season.
Kiprusoff was later pulled after allowing five goals on 19 shots.
“That was a highlight-reel goal,” said Canucks rookie Mason Raymond, who opened scoring for Vancouver by poking home his own rebound. “Everybody was excited. It’s going to be on the TSN Honour Roll or something like that.”
Daniel Sedin didn’t take all the credit.
“It hit the D-man’s stick. It was kind of lucky, but we’ll take it,” he said with a grin.
Raymond and linemate Taylor Pyatt, with a goal and an assist each, provided key secondary scoring for Vancouver (21-13-4), which is 9-0-2 on home ice after starting the season a dismal 1-6-0.
Defenceman Sami Salo, with his first of the season, also scored as the Canucks improved to 4-0 against the Flames this season.
“You seem to have success against certain teams each year, and hopefully we can keep this going against Calgary,” said Daniel Sedin.
Captain Markus Naslund added two assists as he reached the 800-point plateau for his career.
Jarome Iginla, Craig Conroy and Matthew Lombardi replied for Calgary (17-14-7), which was seeking a franchise record-tying seventh straight road victory. The last time the Flames earned seven consecutive road wins was Nov. 10 to Dec. 4, 1988.
Flames coach Mike Keenan had little praise for Kiprusoff, who he replaced with Curtis McElhinney in the third period.
“You think you have to have a better night than that,” said Keenan, who criticized Kiprusoff earlier in the season and then watched his team go on a 7-0-4 run. “To be successful you can’t give up five goals on the road. … The (goaltending) change was necessary.”
The defensive-minded Canucks generally play 1-0 and 2-1 games, but this one was wide open.
Vancouver, which was missing centre Ryan Kesler (concussion-like symptoms) and defenceman Mattias Ohlund (neck spasms), jumped to a 3-1 lead after one period, then watched it slip away in the second frame on a pair of pretty deflections by Conroy and Lombardi.
Conroy’s goal, his fifth of the season, came off a Robyn Regehr point shot and went through goaltender Roberto Luongo’s legs at 6:04.
Lombardi tied it 3-3 on a power play less than two minutes later, as his tip-in of Adrian Aucoin’s shot trickled over Luongo’s right arm.
“I thought we had chances, we had two power play goals and we came back,” said Iginla. “But give them credit for giving up the two-goal lead and still coming back strong.
Henrik Sedin responded to Calgary’s power-play markers with one of his own.
With the game tied 3-3 late in the second period, he parked himself in front of the Calgary goal, pushed defenceman Anders Eriksson aside and tapped a pass from Daniel Sedin between goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff’s legs.
“I didn’t play well enough to win tonight, and there’s nothing else to say,” said Kiprusoff.
Pyatt put the game away early in the third period when he followed up on a Raymond breakaway by poking the puck past Kiprusoff.
Secondary scoring is often an Achilles heel for the Canucks. Against the Flames, it was a saving grace.
“Guys like myself and some others have got to come in and do that in order for us to win,” Raymond said. “It’s a fun night for us and good to get a win.”
Iginla opened scoring on a deflection before Raymond and Daniel Sedin responded. Salo then hammered a point shot past Kiprusoff’s glove to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead with 39 seconds left in the first period.
NOTES: Calgary’s Mark Smith appeared to make it 5-4 midway through the third period, but after a lengthy review it was ruled a high stick. … The Canucks improved to 17-0-0 when leading after two periods … The Flames failed to record a shot on goal during a four minute power play in the first period. … Vancouver is 10-2-3 versus the Northwest Division. … Canucks enforcer Mike Brown got the better of Smith in a first-period fight. … The Flames fell to 10-5-3 when scoring first.