VANCOUVER – Alex Tanguay didn’t know where the puck was.
And the referees didn’t think his backhanded shootout attempt crossed the goal-line until a video review revealed Roberto Luongo slid into the net with the puck caught in his pads.
That controversial goal gave the Calgary Flames a 4-3 win on Saturday, and sent the Vancouver Canucks to their fourth consecutive loss.
“I had no idea,”Tanguay said.“I’ve made that move a couple of times before and when I put it on my backhand I have no idea where … I can’t see the puck go in.”
The shootout was tied 1-1 when Tanguay skated in on Luongo and got him to sprawl as he went to the backhand.
“He’s a goalie I’ve had some breakaways against,”Tanguay said.“He knows some of my tendencies so I was trying to throw something different at him.”
The goal was waved off at first but the video review showed the puck caught up on Luongo’s thigh as his body slid into the net.
“I’ll say they made the right decision but I … didn’t see it,”said Tanguay who is looking to surpass 50 points for the first time since he last played for the Flames in 2006-07.
“It’s always a tough call to make but for us it’s the right one tonight.”
Luongo didn’t know he’d been scored upon.
“I didn’t even see them take the puck out of my pads, so I don’t know,”said the netminder who has not lost in regulation time in 15 consecutive games, going 10-0-5 over that span.
Brendan Morrison, Curtis Glencross and Tim Jackman scored for the Flames in regulation time. Alex Edler, with two goals, and Ryan Kesler replied for the Canucks.
It was the second win in as many nights for the Flames, who are seeking to challenge for a Western Conference playoff berth.
Calgary improved to 22-21-6 with their fourth win in six games while the conference-leading Canucks dropped to 29-10-9.
Vancouver picked up a single point for the third straight game to move three ahead of second-place Detroit.
Calgary’s wins came after a 6-0 home loss to Minnesota and Morrison, who signed with the Flames after he couldn’t crack the Vancouver roster at training camp, said they came at the right time.
“We’ve been battling at .500 off and on for four or five weeks,”said Morrison who erased a 1-0 Vancouver lead with a power-play goal .
“We keep talking about making a move up in the standings and if we want to do it we’ve got to beat good teams and we did that tonight.”
Morrison said he feels Calgary is poised to move up the closely packed West standings and into a playoff position.
“A lot of people still don’t believe we can do it but the guys in the room aren’t going to give up until the numbers actually say we can’t get in (the playoffs).”
Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who had surrendered 10 goals on 57 shots in two previous losses to the Canucks, gave up another on Vancouver’s first shot.
Then he found his game as the Canucks peppered him with 44 shots.
“It’s a big challenge, pretty good team here and they have some offensive talents but I felt pretty good and just tried to do my job,”he said after being beaten by Edler’s long shot.
The Canuck defenceman’s second goal was his eighth of the season and fourth in five games.
Both goalies had anxious moments in overtime as the two teams had power-play time. Kiprusoff was especially sharp with his glove.
“I felt he would come in and be rock solid and he was,”said Flames coach Brent Sutter.
“He made some big saves, especially early. The puck was hitting him in the logo and he was very under control in his game.”
Kesler, who tied a career high when he scored his 26th goal of the season when his shot hit Tanguay’s stick on a short-handed rush, said the Canucks haven’t pushed the panic button.
“We’re getting points,”Kesler said.“We had a power play to win it in overtime and that just didn’t happen.
“You’re going to have cycles like this and the main thing is we got the point.”
He said the Canucks will have to work more on shootouts and rekindle the power play that sparked a 17-1-2 run from Nov. 24 to Jan. 8.
“We took the momentum (after the tying goal), generated a lot in the third and had a lot of good opportunities in overtime.”said Kesler who missed the net in the shootout.
“The power play has to get the job done and it didn’t. It’s a shootout loss–something for the fans. Obviously we’re not very good at it right now and it’s something to work on.”
Notes:Canuck defenceman Kevin Bieksa left the game with a swollen eye after a brief first-period scrap with Tom Kostopoulos and did not return. The Flames winger returned to the lineup after serving a six-game suspension for the hit that broke the jaw of Detroit’s Brad Stuart … Sergei Shirokov, benched in the third period of Thursday’s 2-1 shootout loss to San Jose, was a healthy scratch from the Canucks’lineup … he scored his first NHL goal in his season debut Tuesday, a 4-3 overtime loss to Colorado … The grittier Aaron Volpatti returned to the lineup instead.