Posted October 31, 2011 on AP on Fox
The Calgary Flames have played well on their six-game homestand. Ending it with a victory over a division rival they have struggled against would make it a whole lot better. The Flames have received excellent goaltending and offense from an unlikely source in their last two games, patterns they hope to continue Tuesday night against the Vancouver Canucks. After losing two of the first three games on their homestand, the Flames (4-4-1) have rebounded by outscoring Colorado and St. Louis 7-3 in a pair of victories. Miikka Kiprusoff made 28 saves and rookie Roman Horak had a goal an assist in a 3-1 win over the Blues on Friday. It was the second straight two-point game for the 20-year-old Horak, who scored his first NHL goal in Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Avalanche. "With every point and when you're getting more ice time, that gives you more confidence," said Horak, five years younger than the second-youngest player on Calgary's active roster, 25-year-old defenseman Chris Butler. Kiprusoff has won three of his past four starts, posting a 1.51 goals-against average. He figures to be back in net Tuesday, when the Flames try to end a four-game home losing streak to their Northwest Division rivals. The Canucks (5-5-1) have outscored the Flames 19-8 during those four wins and are 8-0-2 in this matchup overall since a 5-3 loss Oct. 16, 2009. One reason for Calgary's lack of success in this series is a power play that is 3 for 38 during the 2-8-0 stretch. That unit is currently in a 2-for-21 slump. "We've been struggling. There's no denying it," forward Alex Tanguay told the Flames' official website after practice Monday. "We're definitely going to work hard to get it and we've been working extremely hard with different combinations, with different plays out there. It's going to come." Failure to keep Alex Burrows and Daniel Sedin in check has been the biggest issue for Calgary against Vancouver. Burrows had five goals and four assists in six meetings last season, while Sedin had four goals and five assists. This is the start of a six-game trip for the Canucks, who bounced back from consecutive losses with a 7-4 win over Washington on Saturday. Defenseman Alex Edler had his first two goals of the season with an assist, and Max Lapierre and Chris Higgins each scored twice as Vancouver exceeded its goal total from the previous three games combined. "It's so important to get scoring by committee," coach Alain Vigneault said. "That's how you win on a consistent basis. For our team tonight to have both (Lapierre's) line and (Manny Malhotra's) line come up and score key goals at key times, it was really important, and we're going to hope that continues moving forward here." David Booth had an assist for his first point in three games since joining the Canucks. Booth, who has no goals in nine games, has been playing on a line with fellow American Ryan Kesler. "It's a work in progress, Ryan is not where he can be and David coming into a new environment with a new way of doing things, I see a lot of upside there, but I expect them to be a lot better," Vigneault told the Canucks' official website. Roberto Luongo ranks near the bottom of the NHL with a 3.54 GAA but is 7-0-2 with a 1.97 GAA in his last nine starts against the Flames.
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