Depleted Canucks beat Flames in shootout

Kevin Woodley  - Correspondent | Sunday, 01.19.2014 / 2:57 AM

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Canucks survived a wild start to win in a dramatic finish against the Calgary Flames.

Chris Higgins scored the winning goal in the fifth round of the shootout to end a game that started with a line brawl almost three hours earlier, and the Canucks rallied from a third-period deficit to beat the Flames 3-2 on Saturday night.

"It was a bizarre start to the game and kind of carried over for a little bit," Higgins said after sliding a backhand deke through the legs of goaltender Karri Ramo. "I thought we stayed with it mentally. It was a tough game to stay with it, but we did a great job."

The brawl two seconds into the game left each team without four players - and with only four defensemen - for nearly 65 minutes.

Matt Stajan snapped a 16-game drought with a spinning backhand goal to put the Flames ahead 2-1 four minutes into the third period. But defenseman Yannick Weber tied it on a power play one-timer with 8:12 left and Mark Giordano in the penalty box for the second time in the period. Ryan Kesler won the ensuing draw back to Alexander Edler for a cross-ice pass that Weber blasted past Ramo's glove.

"I realized we were going to be down to four D the whole game and it was going to be a long night for us," said Weber, who tied the shootout in the second round with a shot that trickled through Ramo and into the net. "It was good to finally get a goal on the power play.

"Tying it up and getting the momentum back was good and to win in the shootout, especially that game and how it went, it's a huge win for us. We'll take a lot of confidence and pride out of that one."

Joe Colborne opened the shootout with a shot between Roberto Luongo's legs. But Luongo, playing his first game after missing six with an ankle injury, stopped Calgary's remaining shooters -- Jiri Hudler, Lee Stempniak, Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund -- before Higgins won it.

"If it wasn't my first game back maybe I would have dropped the mitts too, but I didn't want to get hurt again," Luongo (31 saves) said of the early fights. "Quite frankly I was just focused on my first game and being ready to make a few saves."

Kesler also scored as the Canucks snapped a three-game skid with their second win in 10 games (2-5-4), but it may have been a costly win. In addition to possible discipline for coach John Tortorella for going into the tunnel that leads to the Calgary locker room as the Flames left the ice in the first intermission, captain Henrik Sedin did not play the third period or overtime because of injury.

"He's day to day," Tortorella said of Sedin, who played his 679th straight game despite an apparent rib injury suffered late in a 1-0 loss against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday. "He tried, but you could see, and I wasn't going to put him at any more risk. ... He's a pro, he tried to do whatever he could to help us, but I had to tell him to take his stuff off."

With both teams mired in lengthy slumps, the game opened with all five players on each team fighting off the opening faceoff. All 10 were assessed fighting majors and eight of the 10 were given game misconducts, leaving both teams with four defensemen and short benches while playing their fourth game in six nights.

Tortorella apologized to the players he had on the ice for the brawl, especially rookie Kellan Lain, whose NHL debut lasted two seconds. But Tortorella wasn't apologizing for putting his fourth line out to start the game after Calgary coach Bob Hartley opened with his.

"It's easy for people to say put the Sedins out there and it's deflated," Tortorella said. "I can't put our players at risk that way. With the lineup he had, I am not going to put those type of players at risk, and that's what ensues. I'm not proud of it. I have apologized to every one of the players involved in it. I don't feel great about it at all."

Hartley said there was no ill intent in starting a line that included Kevin Westgarth and Brian McGrattan.

"Those guys are playing well for us," Hartley said. "They got us a goal last game. We're not scoring many goals. We had zero intentions there. Those guys are playing hard for us. As far as I know, they were the home team. They had the luxury to put whoever they wanted on the ice. He decided who he puts on. It is what it is."

The animosity continued through a first period that ended with 188 penalty minutes and spilled into the intermission when Tortorella had to be restrained after going into the tunnel that leads to the Calgary locker room. Tortorella refused to discuss the incident or the possibility he will face a suspension as a result.

"I lifted my head and there he was," Hartley said. "I don't understand. I got out of there. I don't need to get suspended or fined. There is nothing to settle there. I just don't understand what was going on."

Hartley was proud of how his team played, picking up a point for just the third time in the past 12 games (2-9-1). Giordano also scored and Ramo finished with 31 saves.

"I am unbelievably proud of my guys," Hartley said. "They battled. We played 10 minutes with three defensemen. We were even more short than the Canucks and we kept battling. It's too bad they got that late power-play goal. I thought we played well enough to win."

Scoring Summary
1st Period
2nd Period
01:37CGY PPG - Mark Giordano (7) ASST: Lee Stempniak (10) 1 - 0 CGY
03:50VAN Ryan Kesler (18) ASST: Zack Kassian (4), Chris Higgins (14) 1 - 1 Tie
3rd Period
04:01CGY Matt Stajan (7) ASST: Lance Bouma (6) 2 - 1 CGY
11:48VAN PPG - Yannick Weber (2) ASST: Alexander Edler (8), Ryan Kesler (13) 2 - 2 Tie
OT Period
1CGYJoe Colborne - Goal
2VANAlexandre Burrows - Save
3CGYJiri Hudler - Save
4VANYannick Weber - Goal
5CGYLee Stempniak - Save
6VANRyan Kesler - Missed
7CGYSean Monahan - Save
8VANZack Kassian - Save
9CGYMikael Backlund - Save
10VANChris Higgins - Goal
Shootout Summary
RNDCalgary FlamesVancouver Canucks
1Joe ColborneAlexandre Burrows
2Jiri HudlerYannick Weber
3Lee StempniakRyan Kesler
4Sean MonahanZack Kassian
5Mikael BacklundChris Higgins
Three Stars of the Game
Dan Hamhuis
Dan Hamhuis
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 0PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 36:12
Dennis Wideman
Dennis Wideman
G: 0Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 0PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 38:05
Ryan Kesler
Ryan Kesler
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 3
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: 1TOI: 26:30
Penalty Summary
1st Period
00:02CGY Ladislav Smid  Fighting (maj) against  Kevin Bieksa
00:02CGY Chris Butler  Game misconduct against  Jason Garrison
00:02CGY Blair Jones  Game misconduct against  Dale Weise
00:02CGY Brian McGrattan  Misconduct (10 min) against  Tom Sestito
00:02CGY Ladislav Smid  Game misconduct against  Kevin Bieksa
00:02VAN Kellan Lain  Game misconduct against  Kevin Westgarth
00:02VAN Dale Weise  Game misconduct against  Blair Jones
00:02VAN Tom Sestito  Misconduct (10 min) against  Brian McGrattan
00:02VAN Kevin Bieksa  Game misconduct against  Ladislav Smid
00:02VAN Jason Garrison  Game misconduct against  Chris Butler
00:02CGY Kevin Westgarth  Game misconduct against  Kellan Lain
00:02CGY Kevin Westgarth  Roughing against  Kellan Lain
00:02VAN Kevin Bieksa  Fighting (maj) against  Ladislav Smid
00:02CGY Brian McGrattan  Fighting (maj) against  Tom Sestito
00:02VAN Tom Sestito  Fighting (maj) against  Brian McGrattan
00:02CGY Blair Jones  Fighting (maj) against  Dale Weise
00:02VAN Dale Weise  Fighting (maj) against  Blair Jones
00:02CGY Chris Butler  Fighting (maj) against  Jason Garrison
00:02VAN Jason Garrison  Fighting (maj) against  Chris Butler
00:02CGY Kevin Westgarth  Fighting (maj) against  Kellan Lain
00:02VAN Kellan Lain  Fighting (maj) against  Kevin Westgarth
04:26VAN Zack Kassian  Roughing against  Lance Bouma
04:26VAN Zack Kassian  Roughing against  Lance Bouma
04:26CGY Lance Bouma  Roughing against  Zack Kassian
04:26CGY Mark Giordano  Hooking against  Alexandre Burrows
07:02VAN Brad Richardson  Holding against  TJ Brodie
11:27VAN Alexandre Burrows  Roughing against  Lee Stempniak
11:27VAN Alexandre Burrows  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Lee Stempniak
11:27VAN Zack Kassian  Misconduct (10 min)
11:27CGY Shane O'Brien  Misconduct (10 min)
11:27CGY Lee Stempniak  Roughing against  Ryan Kesler
2nd Period
01:32VAN Ryan Kesler  Holding against  TJ Galiardi
20:00VAN Brad Richardson  Roughing against  Matt Stajan
20:00CGY Matt Stajan  Roughing against  Brad Richardson
3rd Period
01:05VAN Yannick Weber  Hooking against  Dennis Wideman
06:54CGY Mark Giordano  Tripping against  David Booth
11:44CGY Mark Giordano  Slashing against  Chris Higgins
16:41CGY Mark Giordano  Holding the stick against  Zack Kassian
16:41VAN Zack Kassian  Hooking against  Mark Giordano
OT Period
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/41/3
Faceoff Wins2825
Blocked Shots1615
Penalty Minutes101103
3L. SmidD0000150:02
5M. GiordanoD10-13833:32
6D. WidemanD0003038:05
7T. BrodieD0005035:42
8J. ColborneC0000017:52
11M. BacklundC0003027:07
15K. WestgarthR0000170:02
16B. McGrattanR0000152:48
17L. BoumaC0112215:15
18M. StajanC1003221:28
19B. JonesC0000150:02
22L. StempniakR0108224:23
23S. MonahanC0001018:18
24J. HudlerR00-10026:05
32P. ByronL0000015:52
39T. GaliardiL0003013:55
44C. ButlerD0000150:02
55S. O'BrienD00121021:26
31K. Ramo3133.93965:00
2D. HamhuisD0001036:12
3K. BieksaD0000150:02
5J. GarrisonD0000150:02
6Y. WeberD1006228:22
7D. BoothL00-10013:33
8C. TanevD0004033:02
9Z. KassianR01031614:28
14A. BurrowsR0002420:46
15B. RichardsonR00-11421:51
17R. KeslerC1114226:30
20C. HigginsL0111020:38
22D. SedinL0003028:55
23A. EdlerD0103029:22
29T. SestitoL0000158:16
32D. WeiseR0000150:02
33H. SedinC0002012:11
36J. HansenR0003016:00
54K. LainL0000150:02
1R. Luongo3133.93964:41