Calgary (25-14-5) at Vancouver (27-16-1)

Sunny Currently: Vancouver, BC
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 10:00 pm EST Sat Jan 9, 2010
  • TV: CBC
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Say this much for Vancouver’s Alex Burrows(notes) about the most successful week of his pro career - he won’t need to buy a hat anytime soon.

Burrows looks to become the first player in NHL history with three straight three-goal games Saturday night when the Canucks play the Calgary Flames in the Northwest Division co-leaders’ first meeting at GM Place in 2009-10.

Coming into the New Year, Burrows had one hat trick in 329 career contests over four-plus seasons. He scored three times Tuesday in a 7-3 win over Columbus, then repeated the feat Thursday in a 4-0 victory over Phoenix as fans littered the ice with hats.

“Right now I’m just getting shots through and they’re finding ways to beat goalies,” Burrows said.

Back-to-back hat tricks have occurred 49 times since the league doubled to 12 teams in 1967. Burrows became the first player to have two such games since Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) in 2007, and the third in Canucks history along with Petri Skriko (1986) and Bob Schmautz (1972).

“I have a lot of buddies texting me and congratulating me about it,” Burrows told the NHL’s official Web site. “I know it’s big, but I just feel finally the bounces are going my way instead of going the other way.”

Burrows had ended a nine-game stretch without a goal after opening the scoring Jan. 2 in a 3-1 win at Dallas. With 17 tallies, he comes in tied with Mason Raymond(notes) for second on the team behind Henrik Sedin’s(notes) 20.

Burrows has only five goals in 28 career games against Calgary, but two of those came in a 6-0 home win over the Flames on Oct. 9, 2008.

Presumably, he will be taking aim at Miikka Kiprusoff(notes), who hasn’t been particularly sharp despite a 2-1-0 record against the Canucks.

After allowing a total of six goals en route to a pair of wins in October, he surrendered four in a 10:19 span Dec. 27, and was replaced after the first period in the 5-1 loss during which Raymond recorded a natural hat trick.

Kiprusoff is 7-7-3 with a 3.65 goals-against average in Vancouver, where he will play next month with the Finnish Olympic team. Starting with a defeat on Dec. 14, 2006, Kiprusoff is 2-6-1 with a 4.48 GAA, and has lost five of his last six games there.

He was given the night off Friday in a 3-2 loss to Columbus. Curtis McElhinney(notes) stopped 19 shots in only his sixth start, and Mark Giordano(notes) and Rene Bourque(notes) scored as Calgary (25-14-5) failed to move past Vancouver (27-16-1) into sole possession of the Northwest lead.

After reeling off five wins in a row, the Flames have lost two straight showing the inconsistency that has dogged them all year.

“That’s the thing that really (ticks) me off to be quite honest,” said coach Brent Sutter. “This team shouldn’t be this way but this is the way we’ve been. You win two, win three, lose two, you keep getting the same line ‘well it’s not good enough’. Well, if it’s not good enough, then respond.”

Calgary has scored more than three goals only once in its last 18 games, and must try to solve that issue against a red-hot Roberto Luongo(notes).

The Canadian Olympian and Canucks captain is coming off his 50th NHL shutout to improve to 7-0-1 with a 1.48 GAA since Dec. 22. He has given up two goals or less six times over that run.

Luongo has allowed 10 goals while going 1-2-0 against the Flames in 2009-10. Upon being acquired by the Canucks in 2006, however, he’s 7-3-0 with a 2.36 GAA at home versus Calgary.

During the most recent meeting in Vancouver, Luongo turned aside a season-high 46 shots in a 4-1 victory on April 7.

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Saturday, Jan 9