Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Luongo Huge In Win Over Flames

The Canucks captain stole the show Tuesday night at General Motors Place. Roberto Luongo snapped a three-game losing streak with a stellar 46-save performance to lead Vancouver to a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames, keeping the Canucks hopes alive for home ice advantage in the playoffs.

Luongo was extremely busy in the first period, stopping all 21 shots Calgary fired his way. His best stop may have come on the first shot he faced, as he stoned Mike Cammalleri 39 seconds into the action on a chance from the top of the crease.

Against the run of the play, Vancouver was able to score the only goal of the period and it came courtesy of their fourth line. Ryan Johnson was able to get the puck up the ice for Rick Rypien. His initial shooting attempt from the left face off circle was foiled when his stick was lifted. However he was able to get a second opportunity which he snapped high over the shoulder of Mikka Kiprusoff. Alexander Edler gets the other assist on Rypien's third of the season at 17:21.

The Canucks got into some penalty trouble in the second period, but Luongo and the penalty killers in front of him did a solid job of limiting the Flames opportunities. Calgary did eventually get the equalizer they were hoping for and they looked to their leading scorer to get the job done. Olli Jokinen's shot from close range missed the target, but Jarome Iginla was able to gather the loose puck and stuff in on the short side of Luongo. Cammalleri picks up the other helper on Iginla's 35th of the campaign at 14:44.

The game didn't stay tied for long as on the next shift, the home team got the lead back. Ryan Kesler was able to wheel around the Flames zone before dishing a pass off to Mattias Ohlund in the left face off circle. He stepped into a slap shot that deflected off the stick of Dion Phaneuf and behind Kiprusoff. Ohlund, who had gone 25 games without a goal, netted his 5th of the season and first game-winner tally of the season at 15:06.

Luongo was fantastic in the opening half of the third period, especially with the Canucks having to kill off a lengthy Calgary 5-on-3 power play. Iginla had numerous chances to capitalize, but whether it came on a 2-on-1 rush with Cammalleri or on a clear-cut breakaway, Luongo was able to keep the door closed. Jokinen also had a golden opportunity to score on the man advantage with Luongo out of position, but his shot from five feet out hit the post.

With a little more than five minutes to go in the game, Vancouver got that all-important insurance goal they were hoping for and it came on the power play. Edler got the puck into the right corner for Mats Sundin, who snapped a nice cross-zone pass to the opposite point for Ohlund. With traffic in front, Ohlund's low shot found its way to the back of the net, giving him his second of the night at 14:51.

Henrik Sedin rounded out the scoring for Vancouver as after taking a drop pass inside the Flames line from Daniel Sedin, he ripped a snap shot past Kiprusoff. Alex Burrows chips in the other assist on Henrik's 21st of the year at 17:28.

Final shots on net did favour the Flames 47-25. The Canucks went 1-for-5 on the power play and a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

Now with an overall record of 43-27-10, the Canucks are now tied with the Flames with 96 points. Vancouver will play the final home game of the regular season Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings. Game time is 7:00pm PST.

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