CALGARY, Alberta -- The Vancouver Canucks arrived at the Scotiabank Saddledome with little time to spare.
After Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames, the Canucks left with nothing to show for a day they won't soon forget.
The Canucks' late-night charter on Saturday had been postponed due to ice issues in Calgary, and they were once again stuck on the tarmac Sunday, waiting for clearance to depart for their snow-covered destination.
They finally landed in Calgary at 3:25 p.m. MT and made a bee-line to the rink, arriving less than two hours before the puck dropped in the latest installment of the Northwest Division rivalry.
"It looks like it would be easier when you see another team come in on a game day and have tough travel," said Flames winger Jiri Hudler. "At the same time, it's more pressure on us. They're a good team and can handle that easily."
The Flames ensured it wasn't easy, but the Canucks could have escaped with two points. It was tied 2-2 with less than eight minutes remaining, when Flames captain Jarome Iginla's pass to Hudler hit a skate and deflected in for the go-ahead goal.
The Canucks were threatening to tie up when Michael Cammalleri scored his second of the night into an empty net.
"Obviously, (the travel) was different, but at the same time, we've played a long time in this league, most of us. There's no way we could use that as an excuse for whatever happened tonight," said Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo.
"It's our job as pro athletes to get ready to play and I myself was probably a little bit at fault for that in the first period. I didn't feel like I had my legs and let in a bad goal. After that, we were in a game and obviously they got a lucky goal at the end to win it."
While the Canucks refused to use the snowstorm as an excuse, head coach Alain Vigneault was steamed as they headed back to the airport.
The Canucks were whistled for a bench minor for abuse of officials in the third period, with Vigneault apparently speaking his mind on what he thought should have been an elbowing call on Flames center Matt Stajan.
Iginla's game-winner was scored one second after the penalty expired, just as David Booth stepped out of the box.
"There's no way we should lose this game on a call like that," Vigneault said.
One guy who wasn't complaining was Flames starting goaltender Danny Taylor, who has spent most of the past two seasons with Calgary's AHL affiliate and earned his first NHL win against the Canucks.
Taylor made 29 stops on 31 shots for the win. Luongo stopped 21 of 24.
"It's every kid's dream to grow up and play in the NHL and win games," Taylor said. "It's obviously a dream come true, but I'm not satisfied. I want more. I want to win more. I want to play more, and there's a lot of things I can work on to get better."
The Canucks opened the scoring on a breakaway goal by former Flames winger Chris Higgins, who accepted a lead pass from Jannik Hansen and zipped a wrister past Taylor on Vancouver's second shot of the night.
Cammalleri tied it up at the 15:44 mark of the first period, somehow finding a hole in Luongo's glove on a goal that will undoubtedly be a part of the weekly blooper reel.
Luongo redeemed himself with a brilliant pad save on Flames rookie Sven Baertschi early in the second period, then the Canucks stormed to the other end of the ice and Hansen whacked a rebound out of mid-air to restore the lead.
It was an impressive outing for Hansen, whose wife gave birth to twin boys in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Calgary's second marker came courtesy of speedy winger Lee Stempniak about four minutes after Hansen's goal. Stempniak was positioned in the slot and shelved a shot after a pretty pass from Stajan from behind the net.
Calgary's game-winning tally was credited to Iginla at the 12:36 mark of the final period.
"After the second period, I said 'Those guys had a long night, a long day, and this is where we really have to step it up,' " said Flames head coach Bob Hartley.
The Canucks are headed back home for Tuesday's date with the San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks will visit the Saddledome the following night for a faceoff against the Flames.
NOTES: Canucks captain Henrik Sedin has skated in 602 consecutive games, the second-longest ironman streak in the NHL. Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is the current leader, with 608 straight appearances. ... Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who has missed 13 games with a strained knee ligament, is once again practicing with the team. With Kiprusoff still out, Taylor became the fourth Flames netminder to start a game at the Saddledome this season. Leland Irving and Joey MacDonald are the others. ... Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa missed the game with a groin injury, giving Cam Barker his taste of the action on Vancouver's blueline. ... Tough guy Brian McGrattan, who rejoined the Flames in a trade last week from the Nashville Predators, was in Calgary's lineup. The respected heavyweight spent the 2009-10 season with the Flames, appearing in 34 games and registering one goal, three assists and 86 penalty minutes. He dropped the gloves with Canucks forward Tom Sestito in the second period. ... With McGrattan in the lineup, the Flames scratched gritty winger Tim Jackman.