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Raymond scores shootout winner to lead Canucks past Flames 2-1

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

CALGARY - Miikka Kiprusoff and Roberto Luongo gave fans a glimpse of the type of goaltending that could be on display Thursday night when the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks open the regular season.

Mason Raymond scored the shoot-out winner Saturday night as the Vancouver Canucks won 2-1 over the Calgary Flames. After duelling each other for 65 minutes, Kiprusoff and Luongo carried it over to the shootout with Raymond the only one of 10 shooters to score.

Despite the loss, Kiprusoff had 35 saves to finish with a 2-0-1 pre-season record.

"(It) was definitely Miikka's best game," said Flames coach Brent Sutter. "He was very solid, a lot of pucks hit him the chest and you could tell in the shootout tonight, he was under control. He played really well."

Cutting in on Kiprusoff from the left side, Raymond quickly stopped and, as Kiprusoff slid to the ice, cut back and jammed the puck into the open side.

Luongo clinched the victory, thwarting Anton Stralman after earlier turning aside Nigel Dawes, Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen and David Moss.

David Moss scored the lone regulation goal for Calgary (3-2-2), which wraps up its pre-season schedule.

Mikael Samuelsson scored for Vancouver (7-0-1).

With the exception of defenceman Cory Sarich, who received the night off, the line-up Calgary iced against Vancouver to conclude its pre-season schedule could be the exact same group that suits up against the Canucks when the two teams meet to open the regular season on Thursday night.

Vancouver, still carrying extra players in camp, chose to rest a number of regulars including the Sedin twins, Alex Burrows, Steve Bernier, Kyle Wellwood and defensive mainstays Kevin Bieksa, Sami Salo and Willie Mitchell.

"It was a gutsy effort," Luongo said. "We all saw the line-up they had and we had a lot of veterans sitting out tonight. It's not an easy thing to do to come into this building and play toe-to-toe with those guys and get a big win."

Moss shrugged off the loss, saying the Flames are anxious for the start of the regular season.

"When you get here and training camp gets going, you're excited, but as the pre-season goes on, you see the light at the end of the tunnel and you want to get the regular season going," Moss said.

"You're trying to play well and get your systems down but obviously the real test is Thursday and these pre-season games are just time for you to get your systems down and get your legs going."

The Canucks, who wrap up their pre-season Sunday in Edmonton, join the New Jersey Devils (3-0-1) as the only teams without a regulation loss in the pre-season.

After a scoreless first period, Calgary opened the scoring at 7:31 of the second period when Moss crashed the net and knocked in Craig Conroy's rebound.

Vancouver tied it at 15:07 of the second when Samuelsson spun and fired a low shot from the top of the face-off circle that squeaked underneath Kiprusoff's pads.

It was the lone flaw in a busy second for the Flames goaltender, who stopped 16 of 17 shots in the period. Prior to allowing his goal, Kiprusoff made a spectacular glove save off Samuelsson, who had strayed uncontested to within 10 feet of the net and targeted a shot for the top corner.

Luongo (4-0-0) also played the entire game turning aside 24 shots. The clutch save of the evening for Luongo came midway through the third when he smothered a shot from Jarome Iginla after the Flames captain had been sent in alone on a pass from David Moss.

Picking up an assist was 23-year-old Russian rookie Sergei Shirakov. Battling for a spot on a Canucks roster that will be without Pavol Demitra (shoulder) until November, Shirakov has been impressive, picking up five points (two goals, three assists) in three pre-season appearances.

Saturday night, Shirakov skated on a line with Ryan Kesler and Samuelsson and led all Canucks forwards in ice time playing 20:31.

Shirakov led off the shootout but lost control of the puck as he made a deke to his forehand.

Perhaps in a bit of gamesmanship in the shootout, Olli Jokinen hammered a slapshot into the chest of Luongo from 10 feet out. Alex Edler went next for Vancover and did the exact thing to Kiprusoff.

"Once he lifted his stick, I didn't expect him to let it go but he did and he had no room up there," said Luongo.

The Canucks captain shrugged off any ill will towards Jokinen.

"I made the save. If he had scored, maybe I'd be pissed off," Luongo said with a laugh. "From that close, it's tough to get it up high. I had no problem with that."

Notes: Of the three healthy Flames forwards that were scratched - Jamie Lundmark, Jason Jaffray and Colin Stuart - Calgary is expected to open the season with one or two of them on the roster. ... Calgary is also expecting to cut one of the eight defencemen remaining, with Staffan Kronwall, also a scratch on Saturday, looking to be the odd man out. ... Off-season acquisition RW Brian McGrattan (shoulder) has yet to play a pre-season game for the Flames and could begin the year on the injured reserve list. ... Calgary's lines were Curtis Glencross-Craig Conroy-Fredrik Sjostrom, David Moss-Olli Jokinen-Jarome Iginla, Rene Bourque-Daymond Langkow-Nigel Dawes, and Eric Nystrom-Dustin Boyd-Brandon Prust.



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