Flames 4, Canucks 1

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Shean Donovan and Miikka Kiprusoff were already playing well. Once Jarome Iginla joined them, there was no stopping the Calgary Flames.

Iginla scored twice, Donovan scored in his fourth straight game, and Kiprusoff made 28 saves to lead Calgary to a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

Martin Gelinas also scored for the Flames, who have picked up points—and no regulation losses—in eight straight games (5-0-1-2).

“It snowballs,” Iginla said. “Confidence goes up.”

It certainly has for Kiprusoff since he came to Calgary from San Jose in a trade just over two weeks ago. The Finnish goalie didn’t play a game for the Sharks this year, but has four wins in five starts with Calgary.

Kiprusoff said his success has a lot do with his relationship with Flames coach and general manager Darryl Sutter, who used to coach him in San Jose.

“It’s a good thing to come here and know Darryl,” said Kiprusoff, who has given up just one goal in all four wins. “I know what he wants and he knows what I can do. It’s been great, we’ve been winning.”

Trevor Linden scored for the Canucks, who lost their second straight home game after going unbeaten in their first 10 at GM Place.

“I just don’t think we were prepared to do what it takes to win,” said Linden, refusing to blame the letdown on Vancouver’s four-day break after coming off a week-long road trip. “We just didn’t meet the challenge, there’s no excuses.”

Calgary set the tone with lots of speed and gritty play early in the game, beating Vancouver to loose pucks and carrying most of the play all over the ice.

Iginla opened the scoring on the power play 9:08 in, getting his second goal in as many games after going scoreless in eight straight. Dan Cloutier robbed Iginla and Stephane Yelle from close range, but the Calgary captain finally knocked the second rebound over the line from the side of the net.

“It was a luck bounce on my first goal tonight but you need those sometimes,” said Iginla, who added his seventh goal into an empty net with 11 seconds left. “Confidence is a huge part of the game as a team and personally. We’re going as a team and hopefully it will start going personally too.”

Donovan doubled the lead midway through the second, spinning off Artem Chubarov’s soft check in the slot before beating Cloutier to the glove side. It was the fifth goal in four games for Donovan, who also scored twice against Vancouver in a 4-all tie Saturday.

Gelinas made it 3-0 just 56 seconds into the third, after Rhett Warrener’s dump-in took a funny hop off the end boards, stranding Cloutier behind the net.

“That’s what we have to do, we have to hound the puck and play hard every night and I thought that’s what we did,” Donovan said. “And whenever there was a breakdown Kipper was there to make a big save.”

Linden ended Kiprusoff’s shutout bid just over two minutes later, when he caught the goalie down after making the initial stop on a deflection.

Kiprusoff made his best saves after Vancouver pulled Cloutier for an extra attacker, stuffing Jason King from close range with a minute left, and sprawling to rob Todd Bertuzzi with his glove in the net and 24 seconds left.

Canucks captain Markus Naslund played despite missing a practice this week and leaving the morning skate early with a sore groin, but didn’t return to start the third period.

“I wanted to give it a try, I hate to miss a game,” Naslund said.

Notes

Vancouver was 0-for-4 on the power play and has just three goals in its last 36 chances over seven games. The Flames finished 1-for-4 with the man advantage. … Calgary RW Chuck Kobasew, mired in a 13-game goal drought, was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. … Canucks LW Matt Cooke missed his fourth straight game with a shoulder injury. … The Flames hostMinnesota on Friday night.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
S. Donovan S. Donovan
Calgary Flames
Scored at 9:56 of 2nd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Miikka Kiprusoff Cgy 29 28
Dan Cloutier Det 22 19