Flames-Canucks Preview

The Associated Press

The Vancouver Canucks are struggling to score goals at a rate few teams can relate to. The Calgary Flames happen to be one of them.

The goal-starved Pacific Division foes will try to break out of their respective slumps Saturday night in Vancouver.

The Canucks (24-16-9) are on a season-worst 1-5-3 stretch since Dec. 30. After Thursday's 1-0 loss at Phoenix - their second by that score in four days - they've totaled one goal in three straight losses.

"It's a team that is having a (heck) of a time making an offensive play," Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. "It's a game of those little details, so it's been tough sledding as far as developing offense."

Staying out of the penalty box could help. Vancouver, among the least penalized teams in the league as recently as a week ago, has endured 24 short-handed situations in three games, yielding seven power-play goals. The penalties may be killing any chance of sustained offensive momentum, but team confidence hasn't died with it.

"This stuff, lack of confidence and this and that, we're grown men here," Tortorella said. "A big part of our business is to make big plays at key times, so I don't buy the confidence. We just simply have to get something done."

On an optimistic note for the Canucks, they've won four straight overall and at home against the Flames. They'll try to extend those streaks without No. 1 goaltender Roberto Luongo, who will miss a seventh straight game with an ankle injury.

Eddie Lack has started the last six, and he made 22 saves against the Coyotes after being pulled the night before when he allowed the first three goals in a 9-1 loss at Anaheim. He's 2-0-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average against Calgary this season.

Jannik Hansen scored in both of those games while Mike Santorelli scored three times, though Santorelli injured his right arm against Phoenix and is expected to miss this game.

Henrik Sedin, who received postgame treatment for a slash to the ribs against the Coyotes, doesn't have a point in his last three games but has 10 points during a six-game point streak against the Flames.

About the only positive going for Calgary (16-26-6) at the moment is it doesn't have to play a home game. The Flames have dropped seven straight in regulation at home while splitting their last four on the road.

The Flames have scored 12 goals in their last 11 games, a 2-9-0 stretch in which they've been shut out five times.

They fell behind 4-0 after two periods in Thursday's 5-2 home loss to Winnipeg before getting third-period goals from Mark Giordano and Lance Bouma.

"My only point of view is we're waiting for something bad to happen before we start playing," Giordano told the team's official website. "There's no excuse. We have to have that mentality that we have nothing to lose. We've said it before. We can talk all we want, but we've got to go out there and do it."

Reto Berra allowed five goals on 23 shots and has lost six straight starts with a 3.24 GAA. Teammate Karri Ramo has been a little better, splitting his last four starts with a 3.03 GAA, and said the Flames' offense is out of their control.

"We can't really worry about scoring goals," Ramo said. "We have to focus on our own jobs. We still have to be ready, even if we score a lot of goals. I don't think it's any more pressure."

Calgary will be without one of its top scorers, Michael Cammalleri, for a fourth straight game due to a concussion.

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