The Vancouver Canucks vie for their fifth consecutive victory when they host the Northwest Division-rival Calgary Flames on Saturday. After posting three straight wins behind strong goaltending from Roberto Luongo, Vancouver turned to Cory Schneider, who continued the trend by making 22 saves in a 4-1 triumph over the Wild in Minnesota on Thursday. Mason Raymond recorded a goal and an assist as the Canucks came up with their biggest offensive output since posting a 5-0 victory at Anaheim on Jan. 25.
Calgary is seeking its third straight win after registering a 4-3 overtime triumph over the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Thursday. Alex Tanguay scored 67 seconds into the extra session and Leland Irving stopped 26 shots - and notched an assist - en route to his second career victory. Starting in place of the injured Miikka Kiprusoff, who is out with a sprained MCL, Irving recorded his first NHL win against Vancouver on Dec. 23, 2011.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, CBC
ABOUT THE FLAMES (3-3-2): Kiprusoff and center Mikael Backlund were placed on injured reserve Friday. Kiprusoff was hurt in a victory at Detroit on Tuesday, while Backlund exited Thursday’s win with a sprained knee ligament and is expected to miss four to six weeks. Center Mike Cammalleri did not play against Columbus due to a hip flexor. Defenseman Anton Babchuk was activated from IR after missing the first eight games of the season with a shoulder injury and centre Ben Street was recalled from Abbotsford of the American Hockey League. Street is expected to make his NHL debut Saturday. “I’m pretty excited,” the 25-year-old British Columbia native said. “It’s Hockey Night in Canada and it’s Vancouver, where I’m from, so it’s just about as cool as it could possibly be.”
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (6-2-2): After a rough performance in the season opener, Vancouver’s goaltending duo has been superb, allowing more than two goals only once in nine games. Luongo is 3-0-2 with a 1.53 goals-against average and .940 save percentage, while Schneider is 3-2-0 with a 2.66 GAA and .908 save percentage. Each netminder has posted a shutout. “We have two world-class goalies,” left wing Chris Higgins told NHL.com. “It’s a problem a lot of teams would like to have.” Captain Henrik Sedin is four points away from passing Markus Naslund (756) as the franchise’s all-time leader. Sedin already is first with 582 assists.
1. The home team has won four straight and five of six in the all-time series.
2. The Canucks recorded a 3-2 shootout victory on Jan. 23 in the first meeting of the season.
3. Calgary has lost four of its last five visits to Vancouver and has captured only four of its last 15 overall encounters with the Canucks.
PREDICTION: Canucks 5, Flames 1.
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