Canucks 4, Flames 3, OT

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—The Vancouver Canucks might look back on their overtime win over the Calgary Flames as the turning point of their season.

At least Brendan Morrison hopes so after scoring a power-play goal with 2:53 left in the extra period to give Vancouver a 4-3 victory Saturday night.

The Canucks had just two wins in their last 10 games entering the Northwest Division clash with the Flames.

“This was huge for us. We had a tough game in Chicago and have really been struggling lately, we just haven’t been on the same page,” Morrison said. “Tonight’s win was a huge confidence builder, but we know that we still have to get better.”

Vancouver could easily have packed it in after giving up two goals to the Flames early in the third period to fall behind 3-1. But in contrast to their recent outings, the Canucks kept pressing and were ultimately rewarded as they pulled to within one with 7:31 to play in regulation and sent the game to overtime by tying it with 30 seconds remaining in the third period.

“This was our third game in four nights but if you look at the effort we had in the third period it shows the type of mentality we have, we just want to win and do whatever it takes,” said defenseman Sami Salo, who scored twice and assisted on the winner.

Salo who sent the game into overtime, beating Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff with a slap shot, almost a carbon copy of his first goal of the game.

In overtime, Salo was able to draw Kiprusoff out of his net with the threat of a slap shot and just missed winning the game himself after stepping around the sprawling goalie. Salo’s shot rang off the post, went off the back boards and popped into the slot for Morrison on the other side of the net. Morrison was able to tap the puck into the empty net as Kiprusoff scrambled to get back into the play.

“That is the way the game goes sometimes,” Kiprusoff said. “Sometimes the bounces work for you and some nights, like tonight they don’t. I tried to challenge Salo, but the puck took a funny bounce off the post and came off the boards right to their guy. It happens.”

The Canucks are just happy to get a lucky bounce for once.

“When you are playing well you can make errors and it doesn’t cost you the game. When you are playing like we have the last couple of weeks it seems like every error you make winds up in the back of your net,” said Anson Carter, who also scored for the Canucks. “Maybe this is a sign that things are changing for us, that our luck is changing. But we have to stick with it, we were coming off a win in Chicago that we needed for our confidence and we stayed focussed tonight.

“It looked like the sky was falling a couple of weeks ago, but now things are looking pretty good for us. We’re on a two-game winning streak.”

Rookie defenseman Dion Phaneuf had scored at 3:40 of third period to give the Flames a 2-1 lead. With Calgary on the power play, Phaneuf took a pass from Andrew Ference at the blue line, slid a couple of steps to his left and ripped a snap shot through traffic that beat Vancouver goalie Alex Auld for his 10th of the season.

Calgary captain Jarome Iginla scored less than a minute later, his 17th of the season.

Calgary took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission as Stephane Yelle opened the scoring 8 minutes into the game. With the Flames on a power play, Yelle slipped undetected into the low slot and tipped home a loose puck that got past Alex Auld.

Vancouver tied it 6 minutes into the second period on Salo’s first goal.

All four Vancouver goals came on the power play. The Canucks went 3-for-10 with the man advantage, while the Flames were 3-for-6.

Notes

Calgary recalled D Richie Regehr from Omaha of the American Hockey League prior to the game. Regehr, the younger brother of Flames D Robyn Regehr, was called up to replace Bryan Marchment, who injured his knee Friday night in a win over Toronto … Vancouver is a 6-10-4 in its own division this season, while the Flames are 12-4-1 … LW Wade Brookbank returned to the Vancouver lineup after missing 10 games because of a concussion. RW Richard Park was a healthy scratch for the first time this season, while D Ed Jovanovski missed his fifth straight with a groin injury.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
B. Morrison B. Morrison
Vancouver Canucks
Scored at 2:53 of OT

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Miikka Kiprusoff Cgy 36 32
Alex Auld Ott 30 27