Flying V’s Hat Trick: Irving backstops Flames to win over Canucks

Merry Freakin Dud For Xmas

The Vancouver Canucks got into the Christmas spirit early this season, giving Leland Irving his first career NHL victory in a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames Friday night at Rogers Arena.

The Flames held Vancouver to only 13 shots through two periods and slowly chipped away at the home team until Curtis Glencross was able to convert a slick set-up from Jarome Iginla early in the third period.

Vancouver’s offensive push in the third came too little, too late on a night the road team appeared determined to secure a win for their young goaltender.

The Hat Trick – Three Game Changers

Leland Lights-Out

Rookie goaltender Leland Irving was spectacular in his first ever NHL victory stopping 29 of 30 shots against Vancouver. While the Canucks struggled to get rubber on net for the first half of the hockey game, the young backup was sharp when called upon throughout Friday’s contest.

Calgary’s first goal of the game came immediately after Irving cleared the crease in a mad scramble around the net to keep the Canucks off the scoreboard.

Captain Calgary

Jarome Iginla was one of Calgary’s best skaters on Friday, setting up both of his linemates for goals in the victory. Iggy’s hustle to hunt down a puck before Dan Hamhuis could touch it for icing cost the Canucks, leading to Curtis Glencross’ 14thgoal of the season.

Flames vs. Canucks Recap

Calgary Flames Tom Kostopoulos dropped the gloves with Bieksa 3 seconds into Thursday nights game to try to set the tone. - (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

In the last minute of play Calgary’s top line combined for the empty netter to seal the victory, earning Olli Jokinen his first-ever goal against the Canucks.

Power Play Potential

For the second game in a row the Vancouver Canucks struggled to force their opposition to take penalties, leaving a lethal power play on the bench for the majority of the game.

After relying too heavily on the power play for point production earlier in the season, the Canucks must move their feet and give the extra effort to earn extra time on the man advantage and even out the scoring attack.

From the opening faceoff the Flames were determined to ice a solid, defensively responsible game in front of rookie goaltender Leland Irving.

Captain Jarome Iginla found a way to give his team the edge in Friday’s game, taking advantage of a Canucks team that appeared to be simply going through the motions with Christmas on the horizon.

Some time at home with family should allow the team to forget about Friday’s loss and focus on their play in the New Year.

Quote of the Night

“Setting up the play!?”

Even before Jarome Iginla’s first assist of the night; both Canucks and Flames fans couldn’t help but howl in the hallways of Rogers Arena over the hilariousness of the Captain’s awkward interview earlier this week.

3 Stars

1st. Leland Irving — SAVE %: 0.967
2nd. Alexandre Burrows — GOALS: 0 | PTS: 0 | ASST: 0 SOG: 3 | PLUS/MINUS: -1
3rd. Curtis Glencross — GOALS: 1 | PTS: 2 | ASST: 1 SOG: 4 | PLUS/MINUS: 3

Calgary 3, Vancouver 1
When: 10:00 PM ET, Friday, December 23, 2011
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
Referees: Dennis LaRue, Brad Meier
Linesmen: Lonnie Cameron, Jay Sharrers
Attendance: 18890


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About Kevin Vanstone

Born in Vancouver, and a student at UVIC. "The Flying V" follows all things Canucks hockey and covers the best in CIS athletics around the Pacific Northwest. He loves to write about the athletes that used to show him up in his playing days.
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