Vancouver 4 Calgary 1
CALGARY — Maxim Lapierre scored the go-ahead goal and Roberto Luongo, in a surprise start, made 40 saves as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 on Wednesday night.
Andrew Ebbett centred a pass that Lapierre swatted behind Miikka Kiprusoff from the top of the crease, breaking a 1-1 tie at 12:37 of the third period.
Up until that goal, most of the play in the third had been in the Vancouver end where Luongo was sharp in turning aside dangerous chance after chance.
Calgary outshot the Canucks 41-29 in the game including 18-9 in the final 20 minutes.
Alex Burrows, Mason Raymond and Daniel Sedin also scored for Vancouver (23-11-6), winners of nine of its last 12. The Canucks, who began a five-game road trip, opened up a six-point lead atop the Northwest Division over the Minnesota Wild. They will also make stops in Colorado, Nashville, St. Louis and Dallas.
Curtis Glencross with his team-leading 15th had the lone goal for Calgary (14-21-4), which has lost six of its last seven. The Flames remain tied with the Florida Panthers for second-last overall. They both entered the night three points up on the Avalanche, who were playing the Anaheim Ducks.
Cory Schneider was supposed to get the start for Vancouver but fell ill, so the Canucks turned to Luongo who started for the first time in 12 games.
Schneider was so under the weather that the Canucks arranged to dress University of Calgary goaltender Dustin Butler as their backup goaltender.
Vancouver’s all-time leader in wins, Luongo won his first game since he defeated Nashville on March 14 to improve to 8-4-3.
Luongo was also the centre of attention all night for the sell-out Scotiabank Saddledome crowd of 19,289, which included numerous throngs of fans wearing Canucks jerseys. Every time Luongo made a save, boos mixed with “Lou’s” rained down from the crowd.
The crowd really got charged up in a sequence midway through the third. Mikael Backlund’s shot off the wing was stopped, and as the rebound kicked into the air and was batted at the net by Glencross, Luongo jabbed out his glove with some flourish and snatched it out of the air.
At the other end, Kiprusoff made 25 saves.
The 36-year-old Finn entered the night ranked last in the NHL with an .873 save percentage and second-last with a 3.58 goals-against average.
Calgary scored first on a nice setup from behind the net by Max Reinhart, playing his third NHL game.
Reinhart backhanded a pass in front to Glencross, who didn’t get his initial shot through but regained the puck and put a shot into the top corner.
It was Reinhart’s first NHL point.
Vancouver tied the game just 64 seconds later on a goal that originally was emphatically waved off by referee Mike Leggo.
After video review, it was determined that in the mad scramble around the Flames’ goal crease after the puck trickled behind Kiprusoff and towards the goal-line that Burrows got his stick on it and it was not kicked in as Leggo originally indicated.
Calgary was playing its first game back at home since suffering a lethargic 8-2 rout at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers last Wednesday on the NHL trade deadline.
The Flames went onto the road after that and, boosted by a string of AHL call-ups, in some cases due to injury, they turned in three much better efforts including last Saturday when they lost to the Canucks 5-2 despite outshooting them 38-22.
Notes: LW Steve Begin (upper body) was shaken up early in the first period and did not return for Calgary a It was Reinhart’s first assist as a Flame. His dad Paul’s last point as a Flame, also an assist, was nearly 25 years ago (Mar. 25, 1988) a Calgary C Blair Jones dressed in place of Matt Stajan (upper body). Jones was recalled on an emergency basis from Abbotsford (AHL) on Tuesday. Jiri Hudler (upper body) missed his second game a Butler, who wore jersey No. 30, practised with many of the Flames players during their informal ice times during the lockout.