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Naslund shines as Canucks stay unbeaten against Northwest Division rivals

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

VANCOUVER - Markus Naslund scored a goal and added an assist as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 in NHL action Sunday night. Henrik Sedin also had a goal and an assist and Willie Mitchell and Brad Isbister scored as well, helping the Canucks (10-8-1) continue to reign over their Northwest Division rivals.

Vancouver is 8-0-1 against its divisional foes and remains unbeaten in three games (2-0-1) against Calgary this season.

Adrian Aucoin replied for the Flames, who dropped to 8-9-3.

Goaltender Roberto Luongo emerged as the hero as Vancouver stopped Calgary's winning streak at two games, even though the visitors outshot the hosts 30-21 and played most of the game with only five defencemen.

The Canucks played without defenceman Mattias Ohlund, who received a four-game suspension earlier in the day for slashing Minnesota centre Mikko Koivu across the back of the legs Friday night. Koivu suffered a fractured left knee after he elbowed Ohlund in the face and the defenceman reacted.

Ohlund was replaced by defenceman Lukas Krajicek, who returned to the Vancouver lineup after being sidelined since Nov. 1 with an ankle injury.

The Canucks were already missing key blue-liners Kevin Bieksa (lacerated calf) and Sami Salo (broken nose).

Calgary lost defenceman Robyn Regehr 1:31 into the game as he took a Krajicek slapshot in the side of the head. Regehr left the ice while clutching a towel to his right ear and immediately went to the dressing room. He did not return.

Henrik Sedin gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead 2:49 into the game. It was Vancouver's sixth shot of the game.

The Canucks did not allow the Flames a shot before then. But Aucoin scored on Calgary's first attempt on Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo at 4:03. The Calgary defenceman's point shot grazed Vancouver winger Taylor Pyatt's hip and Luongo could only lunge at the puck as it went past him.

For the rest of the opening session, Luongo and Calgary counterpart Miikka Kiprusoff put on a goaltending show as each team enjoyed several dangerous chances.

Mitchell gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead at 9:52 of the second period as he pinched in from the point to fire home Naslund's back-door pass for his first goal of the season. It was Vancouver's first shot of the middle frame.

Naslund gave Vancouver a 3-1 advantage with a power play tally eight minutes later. The goal came while Calgary winger Owen Nolan was in the penalty box for what appeared to be an inadvertent slash to the head of Luongo.

Isbister, who signed as a free agent in the off-season, counted his first goal as a Canuck at 5:35 of the third period, giving Vancouver an insurmountable 4-1 lead.

Notes: Vancouver winger Jannik Hansen was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. ... The Canucks recorded their 185th consecutive sellout crowd of 18,630.

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