VAN
4-2-0
CGY
5-3-1

33 SOG
25 SOG

Canucks continue dominance of Flames

Aaron Vickers  - NHL.com Correspondent | Thursday, 10.09.2014 / 1:55 AM

CALGARY -- New season, same dominance by the Vancouver Canucks against the Calgary Flames.

But it was a pair of new faces that paved the way for Vancouver.

Radim Vrbata scored the game-winner and Ryan Miller made 23 saves to lead the Canucks to a season-opening 4-2 win against the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday, making Willie Desjardins a winner in his NHL coaching debut.

"It's real nice," Miller said. "It was a little anxious leading up to these games just because, you know, you start somewhere new you want to get off on the right foot. I thought it was a good team effort. Guys worked hard, got pucks to the net on those goals and really deserved to get pucks behind the line there. It was fun.

"We feel like it's important to contribute immediately."

The Canucks swept the five-game series with Calgary last season and have won eight in a row against the Flames, including five straight on the road. Neither Vrbata nor Miller was a part of that prior dominance, though; each signed as a free agent with Vancouver during the offseason.

Desjardins replaced John Tortorella, who was let go after the Canucks failed to make the playoffs last season.

Season-openers haven't gone the Flames way of late. Calgary is 12-19-10-2 all-time in its first game of the season and hasn't started with a victory since Oct. 1, 2009.

"We weren't good enough at the end of the night," captain Mark Giordano said. "It's about not getting to that position where we're down by a couple goals. We've got to find a way to put that desperation mode on a lot earlier in the game."

The game was tied 1-1 in the second period before goals by Zach Kassian and Vrbata put the Canucks ahead to stay.

A Brad Richardson misfire landed on the stick of Kassian, alone to the left of Jonas Hiller, and he batted the puck into a virtually empty net at 5:16 to put the Canucks up 2-1.

The goal came just 68 seconds after Paul Byron tied the game by beating Miller between the legs on an odd-man rush.

Vrbata's goal at 11:07 needed some help from a video review.

After Henrik Sedin's wraparound attempt hit defenseman TJ Brodie's stick and bounced up, Vrbata quickly swatted the puck out of midair and behind Hiller. The goal was originally waved off, but a lengthy video review overturned the decision.

"I knew that I had a blade high over the bar, probably, but I knew I hit it with the shaft," he said. "I know that they said it was close but I was pretty sure it was a good goal.

"I'm glad that a goal helped us to get two points."

The Flames took advantage of a fortunate bounce of their own at 13:19 to pull within 3-2. The puck caromed off the stick of Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler and into the slot, where Jiri Hudler took a tap from Sean Monahan before beating Miller over the glove.

But Miller closed the door in the third period, making nine saves before Henrik Sedin fought off a checker and knocked the puck into an empty net with 1:16 remaining and Hiller on the bench in favor of an extra attacker.

"We have a young team and we're going to learn," said Calgary coach Bob Hartley, whose team begins a six-game road trip Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers. "It's too bad because in the third, that's when we played our best hockey but we couldn't get the tying goal.

Miller weathered an early storm and bought some time for the Canucks to open the scoring with 8:05 remaining in the first period. Alexandre Burrows, who didn't score his first goal last season until March 12 last season, in his 37th game, had the first goal of the season for Vancouver.

On the ensuing faceoff after Byron was whistled for hooking, Dan Hamhuis took a pass from Christopher Tanev and let go a shot through a screen that was directed by Burrows and behind Hiller to put the Canucks up 1-0 at 11:55.

"I thought I put all the bad luck aside last year and I prepared really hard this summer, worked really hard and I think I did everything I could to come out and have a strong year," Burrows said. "It's a good start, but it's only one game. You've got to make sure you keep pushing yourself."

The goal came after Calgary couldn't beat Miller during a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 64 seconds.

"I feel that's the turning point," Hartley said. "We didn't capitalize. An early power play, 5-on-3, you don't score on those, you just make your life miserable, and especially on a home opener where the fans are already on their feet and they're just waiting to light up the barn on fire, and we couldn't.

"Not only, that we didn't score, but after this I felt we lost the momentum for basically the first 40 minutes. We were not very good in our zone. We had way too many missed assignments."

Prior to the power play, the Flames held a 5-1 edge in shots. The Canucks finished the period by outshooting Calgary 12-4, including a shorthanded attempt by Tanev in the dying seconds of the period that forced Hiller to flash a quick glove at the buzzer.

1st2nd3rdT
VAN
CGY
Scoring Summary
1st Period
11:55VAN PPG - Alexandre Burrows (1) ASST: Dan Hamhuis (1), Christopher Tanev (1) 1 - 0 VAN
2nd Period
04:08CGY Paul Byron (1) ASST: Joe Colborne (1) 1 - 1 Tie
05:16VAN Zack Kassian (1) ASST: Linden Vey (1), Brad Richardson (1) 2 - 1 VAN
11:07VAN Radim Vrbata (1) ASST: Henrik Sedin (1), Daniel Sedin (1) 3 - 1 VAN
13:19CGY Jiri Hudler (1) ASST: Sean Monahan (1), Mark Giordano (1) 3 - 2 VAN
3rd Period
18:44VAN EN - Henrik Sedin (1) ASST: Christopher Tanev (2), Brad Richardson (2) 4 - 2 VAN
Three Stars of the Game
Daniel Sedin
1st
Daniel Sedin
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 18:11
Mark Giordano
2nd
Mark Giordano
D
G: 0Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 2
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: -1TOI: 25:39
Henrik Sedin
3rd
Henrik Sedin
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 19:42
Penalty Summary
1st Period
03:34VAN Kevin Bieksa  Interference against  Lance Bouma
04:31VAN Chris Higgins  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
11:47CGY Paul Byron  Hooking against  Luca Sbisa
16:32CGY Mason Raymond  Tripping against  Jannik Hansen
19:42VAN Zack Kassian  Interference against  TJ Brodie
2nd Period
06:57VAN Brad Richardson  Hi-sticking against  Joe Colborne
07:25CGY Curtis Glencross  Hi-sticking against  Zack Kassian
19:58VAN Kevin Bieksa  Roughing against  Deryk Engelland
19:58CGY Deryk Engelland  Roughing against  Kevin Bieksa
19:58CGY Mikael Backlund  Roughing against  Alexandre Burrows
19:58VAN Alexandre Burrows  Roughing against  Mikael Backlund
3rd Period
NONE
shots by period
PeriodVANCGY
1st139
2nd137
3rd79
Total3325
Team Stats
CategoryVANCGY
Power Plays1/30/4
Hits1632
Faceoff Wins2743
Giveaways78
Takeaways47
Blocked Shots1311
Penalty Minutes1210
  • VANCOUVER
  • CALGARY
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
2D. HamhuisD0111020:27
3K. BieksaD0022420:26
5L. SbisaD0001018:34
7L. VeyR0110013:26
8C. TanevD02-12019:45
9Z. KassianR1013212:27
13N. BoninoC0000016:14
14A. BurrowsR1002215:52
15B. RichardsonR0223213:43
17R. VrbataR1024017:44
18R. StantonD0025017:34
20C. HigginsL0003216:23
22D. SedinL0111018:11
23A. EdlerD00-22022:24
27S. MatthiasC00-2109:39
33H. SedinC1121019:42
36J. HansenR00-2109:54
51D. DorsettR00-2109:35
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
30R. Miller2325.92060:00
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
4K. RussellD0000020:49
5M. GiordanoD01-12025:39
6D. WidemanD00-10016:30
7T. BrodieD0002024:48
8J. ColborneC0110018:12
11M. BacklundC00-33217:46
13J. GaudreauL0011016:04
15L. SmidD00-12016:10
16B. McGrattanR000007:14
17L. BoumaC00-20012:39
18M. StajanC000208:00
20C. GlencrossL0004219:10
21M. RaymondL00-22216:59
23S. MonahanC0111017:43
24J. HudlerC1003018:04
25B. BolligL0002010:56
29D. EngellandD0010215:45
32P. ByronC1001214:45
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
1J. Hiller2932.90658:39