SUN Hockey Pool

Those pesky twins!

Vancouver Canucks Anson Carter (centre) celebrates his assist on the team's third goal as Calgary...

Vancouver Canucks Anson Carter (centre) celebrates his assist on the team's third goal as Calgary Flames Dion Phaneuf (left) and Matthew Lombardi look on during third period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Friday, Feb. 3, 2006. The Canucks beat the Flames 3-1.(CP PHOTO/Jeff McIntosh)

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

With first place in the Northwest Division on the line, the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks put on a show in the first period.

Unfortunately for most of the 19,289 fans who packed the building and added to the playoff-like atmosphere last night, the Sedin twins put on a show of their own to lead the Canucks to a 3-1 victory at the Saddledome.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin combined for five points, including Henrik's insurance goal to ice the game with little more than seven minutes to play.

"I don't know if they're a second line," said Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter after the game. "Almost 40 assists each, that's pretty close to leading the league, I would think."

Henrik Sedin earned his 39th helper of the season on the tying goal in the second period. His brother added assists No. 32, 33 and 34 as the Canucks came back from a 1-0 deficit to tie the Flames atop the division.

Their linemate, Anson Carter, had a pretty good night, too.

Carter tied the game at 1-1 on the powerplay 15:36 into the middle frame. The Sedins did the dirty work on an awkward-looking entrance into the Flames zone before the puck made its way to Carter at the hash marks.

Carter slid a low shot into the far corner on Miikka Kiprusoff's glove side. The Canucks jumped into the lead a few minutes later, taking advantage of an untimely Flames line change and working a delayed three-on-two into the go-ahead goal.

With pest Jarkko Ruutu running interference on defenceman Robyn Regehr, Ryan Kesler used the pair as a screen and came around to rip a hard shot through Kiprusoff's five-hole with less than a minute to play in the period.

Flames captain Jarome Iginla said the Canucks' ability to capitalize on more chances was the difference.

"It was a tough game. They always are when we play Vancouver," said Iginla. "They found ways to get the second and then the important third goal. Physically, I thought we were there. Both teams were battling."

The Flames looked a little drained early in the third and, while they won't use fatigue as an excuse -- the team was playing its fourth game in six nights, another tough stretch in what has been a grinding Olympic-year schedule.

Defenceman Rhett Warrener said there's nothing the team can do but keep plugging away.

"I think maybe at the end of the year you'll look back -- or maybe even the next year when it's not as hectic a schedule -- and you'll realize whether it was hard or not," said Warrener. "You're stuck in it right now, you've got to battle through it.

"But certainly another day or two of rest would have been nice."

The Flames seemed to find a little reserve energy on a man-advantage in the final minutes. They shelled Alex Auld from every angle but couldn't beat the Canucks 'keeper, who finished with 28 saves.

Iginla got the home side on the board with a powerplay marker nine seconds before the first intermission. But his most memorable mark on the game was a marathon scrap with Kesler -- a fight that lasted more than a minute.

"I was a little tired," said Iginla. "It did go a while."

Kesler was surprised: "I didn't know he was a fighter. But I guess he proved me wrong."

- - -

VANCOUVER CANUCKS: 3

CALGARY FLAMES: 1


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