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Flames 4, Canucks 2

The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta - The Vancouver Canucks arrived at the Scotiabank Saddledome with little time to spare.

After Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames, the Canucks left with nothing to show for a day they won't soon forget.

The Canucks' late-night charter on Saturday had been postponed due to ice issues in Calgary, and they were once again stuck on the tarmac Sunday, waiting for clearance to depart for their snow-covered destination.

They finally landed in Calgary at 3:25 p.m. MT and made a bee-line to the rink, arriving less than two hours before the puck dropped in the latest installment of the Northwest Division rivalry.

They looked tired, too, as the Flames controlled the play for large chunks of the third period, getting the game-winner from captain Jarome Iginla.

Flames starting goaltender Danny Taylor has a good scouting report on the Canucks, since he spent most of the past two seasons with Calgary's AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, which is about an hour drive from Rogers Arena.

Now, the 26-year-old can tell his buddies he earned his first NHL win against the Canucks, too.

The Canucks opened the scoring on a breakaway goal by former Flames winger Chris Higgins, who accepted a lead pass from Jannik Hansen and zipped a wrister past Taylor on Vancouver's second shot of the night.

Flames center Michael Cammalleri tied it up at the 15:44 mark of the first period, somehow finding a hole in Roberto Luongo's glove on a goal that will undoubtedly be a part of the weekly blooper reel.

Luongo redeemed himself with a brilliant pad save on Flames rookie Sven Baertschi early in the second period, then the Canucks stormed to the other end of the ice and Hansen whacked a rebound out of mid-air to restore the lead.

It was an impressive outing for Hansen, whose wife gave birth to twin boys in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Calgary's second marker came courtesy of speedy winger Lee Stempniak about four minutes after Hansen's goal. Stempniak was positioned in the slot and shelved a shot after a nifty pass from center Matt Stajan from behind the net.

Calgary's game-winning tally was credited to captain Iginla at the 12:36 mark of the final period, just after a power play had expired. Iginla tried to fire a pass to linemate Jiri Hudler, but it bounced off Canucks defenseman Jason Garrison.

Cammalleri, who now leads the Flames with eight goals, added an empty-netter.

The Canucks are headed back home for Tuesday's date with the San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks will visit the Saddledome the following night for a faceoff against the Flames.

NOTES: Canucks captain Henrik Sedin has skated in 602 consecutive games, the second-longest ironman streak in the NHL. Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is the current leader, with 608 straight appearances ... Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who has missed 13 games with a strained knee ligament, is once again practicing with the team. With Kiprusoff still out, Taylor became the fourth Flames netminder to start a game at the Saddledome this season. Leland Irving and Joey MacDonald are the others ... Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa missed the game with a groin injury, giving Cam Barker his taste of action on Vancouver's blueline ... Tough guy Brian McGrattan, who rejoined the Flames in a trade last week from the Nashville Predators, was in Calgary's lineup. The respected heavyweight spent the 2009-10 season with the Flames, appearing in 34 games and registering one goal, three assists and 86 penalty minutes. He dropped the gloves with Canucks forward Tom Sestito in the second period ... With McGrattan in the lineup, the Flames scratched gritty winger Tim Jackman.
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