Canucks 2, Flames 0

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CALGARY, Alberta (AP)—Dan Cloutier hardly needed any help.

Cloutier made 31 saves for his second shutout of the season—both in the past three games—and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 2-0 Friday night.

“Danny’s been real solid for us all year, it’s nice for him to get some results and get some credit—shutouts are nice,” Vancouver center Trevor Linden said.

Mattias Ohlund and Brendan Morrison scored in the first period for first-place Vancouver, which increased its lead to five points over Calgary in the Northwest Division.

The Canucks are 6-0-2 in their last eight trips to the Pengrowth Saddledome.

“Calgary likes to throw pucks at the net and crash the net and that’s what I worked on this morning at practice and it seemed to work,” Cloutier said.

Cloutier’s biggest stop of the night came 6:50 into the third period—and it didn’t even count as a save.

With Calgary applying immense pressure and buzzing around the Vancouver net, the Flames were awarded a penalty shot when Ohlund was called for closing his hand on the puck while he was lying on the ice inside the goal crease.

Oleg Saprykin was selected to take his first NHL penalty shot but was left with little to shoot at by a well-positioned Cloutier. Saprykin wristed a shot wide from 20 feet out.

“I know he’s a great shooter and that his shot is usually stick side,” Cloutier said. “When he was looking up, I tried to cover that area and then he looked down and the puck started jumping on him so I think he just tried to hurry up and get the puck away.”

Flames coach Darryl Sutter lamented the missed opportunity but noted the game was lost much earlier than that.

“That was big, that cuts it in half, although really that’s what our goal was in the second period was to cut the lead in half,” he said.

Calgary had its four-game winning streak snapped and lost in regulation for only the second time in 18 games (12-2-2-2). Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves.

“We were flat in the first, we had no jump at all, and we were down 2-0 right away,” Flames defenseman Rhett Warrener said. “It’s inexcusable and we can only point our fingers at ourselves.”

Vancouver lost defenseman Sami Salo with 6:40 left in the third period when he had to be helped off the ice after a knee-on-knee collision with Calgary defenseman Denis Gauthier.

Gauthier was given a kneeing major and a game misconduct.

“Some of our young players couldn’t play the pace the Canucks played in the first period,” Sutter said. “We had a great second period, but by then wewere behind the 8-ball.”

Notes

After 33 games, the Flames (18-10-2-3) are 15 points better than they were at the same point last season (9-16-5-3). … Calgary LW Dave Lowry was a healthy scratch for the fifth game in a row. … Of the Flames’ three injured centers—Blair Betts (shoulder), Steven Reinprecht (leg) and Craig Conroy (knee)—Betts is the closest to returning. He is now back skating with theteam. … Vancouver improved to 11-0-0-0 when leading after two periods.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
M. Ohlund M. Ohlund
Vancouver Canucks
Scored at 1:35 of 1st

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Miikka Kiprusoff Cgy 31 29