CALGARY, Alberta (AP) – Cory Schneider was outstanding in his NHL debut, but couldn’t stem the Red Tide in Cowtown Saturday as the Flames corralled the Canucks 3-1.
Calgary out shot Vancouver 31-18 and controlled the play for most of the second period as they turned a home-and-home series into a four-point swing in the standings.
With back-to-back wins, the Flames move within one point of the division-leading Canucks in the Northwest.
After nearly two periods of storming the Vancouver crease to no avail, Daymond Langkow finally scored the pivotal first goal in the Flames' 3-1 victory, deflecting Dion Phaneuf's rising snap shot from the blue line past the rookie keeper on a power play late in the second period.
After David Moss made it 2-1 midway through the third, Jannik Hansen gave Canucks fans a reason to cheer as he slipped a backhand through the slot at 11:26 of the third and right onto Kyle Wellwood’s tape. Wellwood snapped it over Mikka Kiprusoff to make it a game.
But that was all the Canucks could muster to kick off their third extended road trip of the season which continues Monday in Columbus.
"It was one of those games where both teams really wanted the points," Langkow said. "It was a defensive battle, but we got a few more shots and were fortunate to get some goals and get the win."
Combined with a 4-3 victory Thursday night in Vancouver, Calgary climbed into a tie for second spot in the Northwest with Minnesota, who is also looming large in the Canucks’ rear-view mirror.
"We lost a couple to them earlier in the year so it's definitely nice to get those points back," said Langkow, remembering back to October when the Flames began the season by getting swept in a home-and-home series with the Canucks.
Moss’ goal at 6:11 of the third period, which slipped under Schneider’s pad after a sloppy Canucks giveaway in the neutral zone stood up as the winner. Matthew Lombardi added a goal with 1:22 left for the Flames, who have won five of six.
Vancouver lost in regulation for just the second time in 12 games (8-2-2). The Canucks started a season-high, seven-game road trip.
The 22-year-old Schneider was recalled from the Manitoba of the AHL a week earlier when Roberto Luongo went down with a groin injury. Schneider watched Curtis Sanford start the first two games in Luongo's absence.
The Canucks did almost nothing in the offensive zone and this guy captained their blue line so he gets the nod.
Just the one goal for Daymond, but it was a crucial power-play marker that filled the Flames with confidence.
He deserved a better fate. Could've had the Moss goal that made it 2-1, but he more than made up for it several times over in his first NHL game.
"I was excited, nervous, a whole bunch of feelings but once you settle in, it's just a hockey game and you have to compete, battle, and try to keep your team in it," said Schneider, 10-1 with a 1.37 GAA for Manitoba.
Calgary didn't wait long to welcome Schneider to the NHL. Adrian Aucoin fired a slap shot and Todd Bertuzzi added a backhander to force Schneider to make two saves in the opening 20 seconds.
Before the one minute mark, Schneider was tested again. He kicked out a pad to thwart Flames captain Jarome Iginla from the top of the goal crease, one of three shots for Iginla in the first period.
Schneider's best stop of the night came in the third period when he kept the Canucks down only 1-0. He threw out his glove to stab a slap shot off the stick of Mike Cammalleri, who was alone in the slot. Schneider finished with 28 saves.
"I knew right of off the bat they were going to be testing me and just trying to get pucks on net to see how I'd handle it," Schneider said. "I made sure that first 5 minutes I was really into the game."
Kiprusoff was less busy, facing just 18 shots. Three came off the stick of Daniel Sedin, who had his five-game, goal-scoring streak snapped.
The Canucks looked like the 2007 edition as they struggled to gain the zone and rarely tested the Kipper until they fell behind in the third and head coach Alain Vigneault shuffled lines, moving Taylor Pyatt up onto the wing with the twins.
Pavol Demitra slipped in alongside Mason Raymond and Kyle Wellwood.
Vancouver managed just 3 shots in a second period dominated by the Flames, who eventually scored the game’s opening goal on the power play. Calgary went 1-for-5 with the man advantage while the Canucks finished 0-for-3.
The Flames have gone six games without surrendering a power-play goal, killing 15 of 15 during that span.v "First of all, you have to give credit to the coaches who have done a really good job," Flames coach Mike Keenan said. "Then the players themselves really made a commitment to the details that are involved in penalty killing. It takes a lot of work, it takes cohesive work, they have to work as a unit and they've taken pride in that part of the game."
Canucks forward Steve Bernier returned to the line-up after missing a game with a sore shoulder and injured foot.
Both Kevin Bieksa and Willie Mitchell were assigned the task of facing the Flames’ top line and managed to Hold Jarome Iginla off the score sheet. Both defenders topped the 23-minute mark in ice time.v Wellwood went 8-for-11 in the faceoff circle.
Notes: The Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders were recognized before the game. During the first intermission, quarterback Henry Burris rode on one of the Zambonis hoisting up the Grey Cup as he circled the rink. ... Selected 24th overall in the 2004 draft, Schneider was the last of four goaltenders selected in the first round. ... Bertuzzi has gone 12 games without a goal.