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Luongo's shootout luck ends as Flames win 3-2
As it always is when Mikka Kiprusoff is between the pipes for the Flames it was a goaltender’s duel to the end. Thanks to Mikka’s goaltending, a fluky goal by Mike Cammalleri, and a glance in the wrong direction by Roberto Luongo, the Calgary Flames eke out the overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks to extend their hope of earning a playoff spot this season.
Vancouver - February 12, 2012 - It took a while, but midway through tonight’s game it started to look like the rivalry between these two teams was still alive and kicking, and provided a very entertaining affair requiring a shootout to decide the winner. And as expected, as it always is when Mikka Kiprusoff is between the pipes for the Flames it was a goaltender’s duel to the end. Thanks to Mikka’s goaltending, a fluky goal by Mike Cammalleri, and a glance in the wrong direction by Luongo, the Flames eke out the overtime win to extend their hope of earning a playoff spot this season.
After a slow start to the game, the Flames got the upper hand by scoring first late in the period when Mike Cammalleri deflected the puck off his leg past Luongo at 17:23 of the period. Luongo was able to stop Cammalleri’s original backhand shot, but couldn’t coral the rebound which bounced off the shooter and into the net. Fluky goal? You bet, but it still put the Flames up 1-0.
Then to make matters worse for the Canucks, Andrew Alberts takes a boarding penalty 34 seconds after Cammalarri’s goal to give the Flames their second power play of the period. The Flames gained early momentum by scoring late in the period, then enjoyed a late power play which carried over into the second period, which culminated into the Flames scoring early in the second frame to go up 2-0. With the puck behind Luongo’s net and being fought over for possession, Luongo looked to his right waiting for the play to emerge, but instead the puck squirted out to his left where Roman Horak was waiting to snap the puck into the open side of the net. Luongo didn’t even know where the puck was until the referee grabbed it out of the back of the net.
Even with Mike Duco’s early fight in the first period, and Andrew Alberts crunching hit on Blake Comeau and resulting fight with Mikael Backlund, the Canucks were missing the spark in their play to take control of the game. But even with the Flames enjoying a four minute 5 on 4 opportunity thanks to Alberts sitting in the box for his hit and fight, the Canucks were able to hold the Flames to only 2 only shots on Luongo during the double minor, so it’s not like the Flames were running wild over the Canucks. The turning point for the Canucks came when Alex Tanguay ran Aaron Rome into the boards on an icing call giving the Canucks their first power play of the game at the 11:20 mark. During the power play, the Canucks puck control skills came alive and started giving the Flames defenders fits in their own zone, but thanks to Kiprusoff, three shots off the post, 2 off the side of the net, and one off Ryan Kesler who was screening the Kipper, the score remained 2-0. Even though the Flames still had a two goal lead, the Canucks were waking up and the Flames knew it as after the penalty ended, the Canucks were still able to control and cycle the puck with with ease in the Flames zone. The only player for the Flames that didn’t any real issues with the Canucks owning the Flames in the offensive zone was Kiprusoff. Damn Mikka Kiprusoff!
But even Kiprusoff couldn’t keep the Canucks off the board for ever, as Cody Hodgson was able to beat the Flames netminder with a backhand chip shot over Kiprusoff’s left pad to bring the Canucks within a goal. Aside from the early Flames goal to start the period, it was all Canucks, and thanks to Mikka the Flames still held the lead, because if it wasn’t for Kiprusoff’s play the score could have been tilted in the Canucks favor.
With Blake Comeau taking a slashing penalty at 3:50 of the third period, it was a perfect opportunity for the Canucks to capitalize and draw even with the Flames, but even though the Canucks totally dominated in the offensive zone late in the power play, they just couldn’t beat Kiprusoff. Kevin Bieksa stopped a pass to Comeau who just stepped out of the box to thwart a breakaway on Luongo. The Canucks had their opportunities though, especially when Cory Sarich did a lip stand at his own blueline coughing up the puck to Cody Hodgson creating a 2 on 1 break into the Flames zone, but again Kiprusoff was there to make the save and keep the lead for the Canucks. Damn Kiprusoff!
David Booth tied the game midway through the period by beating Kiprusoff 5-hole when the Flames botched a clearing attempt deep in their own zone. With the score tied, both goaltenders came up big with glove saves to keep the score tied. Kiprusoff’s glove hand thwarted Henrik Sedin’s wrist shot, and Luongo stopped Iginla’s attempt on a breakaway after taking Alex Tanguay’s pass to spring him into the Canucks zone. Again, the Canucks pressure in the Flames zone was mind numbing as the puck control and cycling had the Flames chasing the visitors around like chickens with their heads cut off.
In the overtime frame, the Canucks showed their skill and speed as they made the Flames look like road cones! Mason Raymond especially during 3 on 3 play, with both teams sitting players for penalties, was easily the most exciting player to watch as he made good use of the extra ice generating a few good scoring chances single handedly. But again, Kiprusoff was the difference as the Canucks outshot the Flames 31 to 18 in the 65 minute game. The first game in a long time that the Canucks ramp up their offense and massively outshoot their opponents, and they have to run into a hot goaltender to break their winning streak! Damn Kiprusoff!
Luongo’s luck in the shootout ran out tonight as he went 1-3, with the Flames captain Jerome Iginla getting the winner. Alexandre Burrows was the only Canuck to score in the shootout against Kiprusoff.
So the Canucks’ 5 game road trip comes to an end with a 3-2 record, and earning 8 points for their effort as their only two losses came were in dreaded shootouts to the Wings and Flames. Damn shootouts! Damn Kiprusoff!
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