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Canucks can't catch up to red-hot Flames

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Iginla notched his team-leading 16th goal and added two assists as Calgary opened up a 4-1 lead then survived a furious third period rally by the Vancouver Canucks to hang on for a 5-3 victory.

"The first 40 minutes were good for us," Iginla said. "We knew they played last night and we were trying to come out with some jump. We were able to stay on them and force them to take some penalties and that was huge momentum."

Calgary (14-10-3) has accumulated points in its last five games (4-0-1).

Kristian Huselius and Dion Phaneuf scored on two of Calgary's six power play chances in the first period to open up a 2-1 lead.

"We came out with a real bad first period, took six penalties, and you can't do that," said Vancouver captain Markus Naslund. "Not only do you give them a bunch of chances, that takes the rhythm away from our team too. It took us too long to get going."

Iginla and Matthew Lombardi added second period goals to put the Flames up by three headed to the third.

Vancouver made it interesting getting goals from Jan Bulis at 5:45 and Kevin Bieksa at 10:41 to pull to within a goal. However, Iginla set up Alex Tanguay's empty-net goal with 36 seconds left to clinch it.

"Kristian got that big goal to start us off and we kept pushing, keeping the pressure on for those first two periods," said Lombardi. "We let up a little bit in the third and they came on strong but we got the win and that's what counts."

Daniel Sedin also scored for Vancouver (14-15-1). The Flames pull two points ahead of Vancouver and move to within three points of the lead in the Northwest Division, currently shared by Minnesota and Edmonton.

"We're a real confident group here," said Lombardi about the six weeks of perfection at the Pengrowth Saddledome. "It's a confidence we have right now in everybody and we're obviously lacking a little of that on the road. We have to take that same mentality there."

Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo started the game but coach Alain Vigneault replaced him with Dany Sabourin after Lombardi's goal. Luongo surrendered four goals on 24 shots.

"It's frustrating that we can come out and play an third period like we did but play the first two periods like we did as well," said Vancouver centre Brendan Morrison. "We knew these guys have been playing extremely well at home. For whatever reason, we weren't moving our feet early on and because of that we were taking penalties."

Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff finished with 26 saves. Sabourin stopped all 13 shots he faced.

NOTES: Calgary D Richie Regehr, younger brother of teammate Robyn, and Vancouver RW Lee Goren both made their season debut. Both had stints in the NHL team year but had spent all of this season in the AHL . . . Vancouver C Trevor Linden has not scored in 28 games since registering a goal on opening night . . . Calgary and Vancouver meet three more times this month . . . Luongo has appeared in 29 of Vancouver's 30 games.



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