NHL

Canucks look for seventh straight win as they host Flames

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The Sports Network
1/5/2011 12:01:14 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks began an excellent December with a lopsided victory over the Calgary Flames. They hope they can duplicate that success on Wednesday night despite a flip of the calendar.

The Canucks shoot for a season-best seventh straight victory this evening while the Flames try to get back on track tonight at Rogers Arena after having their longest winning streak of the season halted last time out.

Northwest Division-leading Vancouver has won both of its games this month after going 11-1-2 in December. All told, the Canucks have matched a season best with six straight victories, first done from Oct. 22-Nov. 6 and are 11-0-2 in the last 13 games since their last regulation loss on Dec. 5.

That run has helped the Canucks to match Detroit with an NHL-leading 55 points on the season as well as an eight-point edge over Colorado for first place in the division.

Goaltender Roberto Luongo took home the league's Second Star honour for December after going 8-1-1 with a 2.07 goals-against average in 10 starts. He began the month by making 18 saves in a 7-2 rout at Calgary on Dec. 1, improving to 4-0-1 in his last five versus the Flames with a 1.77 GAA.

Mason Raymond notched the second hat trick of his career in that game to give the Canucks a victory in three straight and four of its last five versus the Flames. Vancouver has also won two straight and seven of its last 10 at home in this rivalry.

Luongo was given the night off in Vancouver's most recent game, a 4-3 victory in San Jose on Monday. Cory Schneider halted 32 shots in the start, improving to 7-0-2 on the season as the Canucks concluded a perfect three-game swing.

Alexandre Burrows had the game-winner and both he and Daniel Sedin finished with a goal and an assist. Alexander Edler and Jannik Hansen also had a goal for the Canucks, who are 15-1-2 over their past 18 games.

"Our guys had a lot of energy, we were rolling four lines and it was a matter of managing the puck well against that team," Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault told his team's website. "We got a little bit off it in the second and that's how they built a little bit of momentum there when we didn't make the right plays through that neutral zone, but when we did make the right plays it was a hard-fought game."

The Canucks play their next three at home, where they have won four straight and have points in their last six games (5-0-1). Vancouver is 13-3-2 as the host overall this season.

The Flames look to snap their skid versus the Canucks after having a season- best four-game winning streak halted in Monday's 5-2 setback to the New York Islanders. David Moss scored both Calgary goals for the fourth multi-goal game of his career and first since Oct. 3, 2009.

Backup netminder Henrik Karlsson surrendered four goals on 25 shots.

"We didn't have a good start," said Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr. "We gave up way too many high quality scoring chances that they capitalized on and we all have to be better than that."

Miikka Kiprusoff should get the start tonight even though he matched a career high with seven goals allowed in the first meeting this season. He has lost three straight and four of his last five versus the Canucks, yielding 13 goals in the last two games.

Calgary, which is six points back of a playoff spot, will get a visit from another Western Conference powerhouse on Friday in the Detroit Red Wings. That game will be the Flames' lone home contest over their next six outings and they have won two straight as the guest.

Roberto Luongo and Jarome Iginla (Photo: Nick Didlick/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Nick Didlick/Getty Images)
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