Canucks snuff Flames

Vancouver 5 Calgary 1 VANCOUVER — Chris Higgins and David Booth had a goal and two assists each and Roberto Luongo made 21 saves as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 5-1 on Sunday night.

Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (1) stops a shot from Calgary Flames left wing Curtis Glencross (20) during first period NHL hockey action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver

Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (1) stops a shot from Calgary Flames left wing Curtis Glencross (20) during first period NHL hockey action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver

Vancouver 5 Calgary 1

VANCOUVER — Chris Higgins and David Booth had goal and two assists each and Roberto Luongo made 21 saves as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 5-1 on Sunday night.

Luongo allowed a weak goal that staked Calgary to a 1-0 lead, but he was unbeatable the rest of the way his first start since Nov. 13.

Kevin Bieksa, Jannik Hansen and Daniel Sedin also scored for Vancouver (15-10-1), which posted its sixth win in seven games and continued its dominance over Calgary, having won 10 of its past 12 meetings.

Alex Tanguay tallied for the Flames (11-13-2) who lost for only the second time in their past six games.

The Flames outshot the Canucks 13-10 in the first period, but Luongo faced little action in the final two periods as Calgary managed only nine shots and was outshot 36-22 on the night.

Vancouver converted two of six power plays while blanking the Flames on four man-advantage opportunities.

Luongo made his first start since suffering an undisclosed upper-body injury Nov. 13 against the New York Islanders — a span of eight games. He returned to action during a rare relief appearance in Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Predators after backup Cory Schneider allowed three goals on Nashville’s first five shots.

Prior to Thursday, Luongo had watched five straight games from the bench after missing two with his brief injury, as Schneider posted five consecutive wins that included two shutouts.

The stretch marked the first time in Luongo’s six-season tenure with the Canucks that he served as the backup during a prolonged span.

Calgary goaltenders Henrik Karlsson, who left in the third period with an apparent knee injury and Miikka Kiprusoff combined for 31 saves.

Karlsson started for only the fifth time this season as coach Brent Sutter attempted to give Kiprusoff the night off after backstopping the Flames to a come-from-behind win Saturday over the Edmonton Oilers.

Calgary led 1-0 after the first period, but the Canucks led 2-1 after the second before taking charge in the third.

Luongo came up big in the first period, foiling Olli Jokinen on a breakaway and Glencross on back-to-back chances with just under three minutes to go in the period.

Tanguay opened the scoring on a bad goal with 1:26 left in the first. Standing behind the net in the corner, he squeezed a shot through Luongo and the post, and the puck then caromed in off the goaltender’s skate, prompting a groan from the crowd.

Bieksa tied it on a power play 5:13 into the second period as his point shot deflected off Rene Bourque’s stick and clanked in off the post. The goal extended Bieksa’s point streak to five games.

The Canucks outshot the Flames 15-4 in the second period, but did not beat Karlsson until the final minute when Higgins backhanded in Booth’s rebound to break the 1-1 tie.

Booth increased Vancouver’s lead to 3-1 just 40 seconds into the third period as he came around the Calgary net. Higgins assisted on the goal, recording his 200th career point.

Just over a minute later, Hansen took a pass from Mason Raymond, playing his first game since he suffered fractured vertebrae in last spring’s Stanley Cup finals, and bounced a shot past Karlsson.

Daniel Sedin extended Vancouver’s advantage to 5-1 on a power play just under four minutes later as he fired in Ryan Kesler’s pass from a sharp angle.

Karlsson left the game with just over seven minutes gone in the third period after a collision with teammate Tom Kostopoulos.

Kiprusoff came in off the bench and stopped all four shots he faced.

Notes: Vancouver D Sami Salo returned to the lineup after missing one game with a groin injury. Salo’s return made Andrew Alberts a healthy scratch. … Vancouver D Dan Hamhuis recorded an assist and needs only one more point for 200 in his career. … Calgary was missing injured RW David Moss (foot), D Anton Babchuk (hand) and D Mark Giordano (hamstring). … Veteran Flames D Cory Sarich was a healthy scratch for the 10th time in the past 14 games, while ex-Canuck C Brendan Morrison, a former NHL ironman, sat out his fifth straight game.