|CGY||0||0||1||(0 - 0)||1|
|VAN||2||1||0||(0 - 0)||3|
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - The streaking Vancouver Canucks insist their success is a result of never being satisfied.
After their 3-1 victory over Calgary on Wednesday night, it was difficult to argue.
Roberto Luongo made 43 saves only to lose his shutout with 10.8 seconds left and the Canucks beat the Flames despite being outshot 44-21. The victory extended Vancouver's winning streak to seven games and broke a tie for the top spot in the overall NHL standings.
"I don't think we had our best game by any means. We got outshot 2-1 by the Flames so there's a couple areas we can be better at," said Luongo, who declined to do an on-ice interview as the game's first star after Tim Jackman ended his shutout bid. "But the good thing about it is we can adjust those issues while we are winning and not while things are going bad."
It's been a while since things have gone bad for the Canucks, who got goals from Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin. Fresh off a road sweep through Dallas, Colorado and San Jose, Vancouver hasn't lost in regulation in a month (12-0-2) and is 16-1-2 in its last 19 to top the NHL with 57 points.
The Canucks set a team record for the best 20-game stretch and are atop NHL standings for the first time since 2004. But they aren't getting too caught up in it.
"We're winning but we're not playing very well so you can't fool yourself," Sedin said after scoring the 10,000th goal in the franchise's 40-year history.
Sedin was more concerned with an over-reliance on goaltending against Dallas, Colorado and Calgary.
"You've got to realize you can play better," he said.
It's hard to imagine starting much better after Kesler opened the scoring 1:10 in. It was the 15th time Vancouver has scored first in the 19 games, and it came courtesy of some shoddy defending. Mason Raymond got around Robyn Regehr in the corner and threw it at the net where Kesler was driving hard to the net behind Jay Bouwmeester to redirect it under Miikka Kiprusoff from atop the crease.
"We made two mistakes in 5 seconds on things we talked about going into the game," Calgary coach Brent Sutter said, pointing first to a turnover that started the rush. "And then someone is going to the net. We have to pick him up and we can't let that happen. Mentally we had two breakdowns very quickly."
Kiprusoff finished with 18 saves for the Flames, and bore the brunt of postgame criticism from Sutter after Calgary lost its second straight.
"We held a very good hockey team to 20 shots against and I wasn't very happy with their last two goals they scored on us," Sutter said.
The second goal was the most egregious.
After Luongo kept it 1-0 with couple good saves, Bieksa put the Canucks ahead 2-0 with 3:48 left in the period. The Vancouver defenseman led a rush up ice, paused atop the left faceoff circle and waited for the traffic to get to the net before firing a wrist shot that somehow skipped under Kiprusoff.
"It's a 3-on-4 and a shot from the top of the circle, a wrist shot, that can't go in the net at that point in time," Sutter said. "It's a tough goal to have scored against you."
Sedin added his team-high 22nd goal on a deflection of Bieksa s point shot midway through the second, and the only thing in question was Luongo's quest for his 54th career shutout. He lost it in the final seconds after Jackman was left alone to bang a rebound past the sprawling goalie.
"I don't like shutouts, that's why I just let goals in the last 5 seconds because I think shutouts are overrated," a visibly frustrated Luongo joked while riding an exercise bike after the game. "I'm going to punish myself for letting a goal in. I'm a competitor and obviously I want to stop them all and I was a little disappointed that went in there at the end."
NOTES: Calgary LW Niklas Hagman was a healthy scratch for the first time all season, replaced by top prospect Mikael Backlund, who was called up from the AHL on Sunday. Bieksa has three goals and four assists in his last six games. He only scored three goals last season - one in the opener against Calgary and two in the season finale against the Flames.
|Ryan Kesler (20) Tip-in - ASST: Mason Raymond (13), Alexandre Burrows (12)|
1 - 0 VAN
|Kevin Bieksa (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Raffi Torres (7), Dan Hamhuis (8)|
2 - 0 VAN
|Daniel Sedin (22) Deflected shot - ASST: Kevin Bieksa (9), Alexandre Burrows (13)|
3 - 0 VAN
|Tim Jackman (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Mikael Backlund (5)|
3 - 1 VAN
|Tim Jackman Cross checking against Keith Ballard|
|Dan Hamhuis Interference against Ales Kotalik|
|Andrew Alberts Tripping against Curtis Glencross|
|Olli Jokinen Interference against Mason Raymond|
|Jeff Tambellini Boarding against Mark Giordano|
|SA: 21||TOI: 57:55|
|Saves: 18||EV: 15 - 18|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 3|
|SV%: .857||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 44||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 43||EV: 37 - 38|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 5|
|SV%: .977||SH: 1 - 1|