SUN Hockey Pool

Two-and-out again

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- It was their second game in less than 24 hours, and it showed.

For the first few minutes, anyway.

The Flames were under the gun as the fresh Canucks stormed the opposition crease early in a 4-1 Vancouver victory last night.

A relentless attack paid off less than three minutes in when Henrik Sedin picked up a bouncing puck between a pair of Flames defenders in the slot and tapped it past Miikka Kiprusoff, making his 20th straight start after playing Saturday in Edmonton in the latter half of the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.

As the Canucks rifled the first seven shots of the evening, it appeared the back-to-back Northwest Division battles were going to be too much for the Flames.

Apparently, though, all it took was one shot to get them ignited.

Scoring his second of the season on the Flames' first shot of the night, Adrian Aucoin injected a little energy into a team looking to string together three straight victories -- after beating the Minnesota Wild and the Edmonton Oilers --for the first time this season.

The former Canuck ripped a shot from the blueline into the top corner on Roberto Luongo's glove hand to pull the visitors even two minutes after Sedin's opener.

Quickly bridging the gap, the Flames led the way on the shot clock the rest of the way but couldn't beat Luongo again.

"We had some energy," said head coach Mike Keenan. "Luongo was tough tonight."

However, the Flames don't feel they were tough enough on him or the ailing Canucks blueline that lost veteran Mattias Ohlund to a four-game suspension in the latest blow to the defence corps.

"We weren't good enough tonight," said captain Jarome Iginla, whose top line was outplayed by the checking combination of Ryan Kesler, Taylor Pyatt and Brad Isbister -- who capped off the scoring early in the third period, following up second-frame tallies from Willie Mitchell and Markus Naslund.

The Flames' defensive group took a hit early on when Robyn Regehr was gashed by a deflected puck that hit him in the side of the face in the first period. Blood dripping along the way, Regehr headed to the dressing room and was kept out for "precautionary reasons" the rest of the night, said Keenan.

"I think he's fine."

Others picked up the slack. Anders Eriksson played 30-plus minutes on the left side.

"It's tough when you lose a guy like Robyn. He does it all out there," said Eriksson. "I think we have enough depth to be able to step in. Any time you get to play a lot, as much as I did tonight, it's fun. As long as you take advantage of your opportunity."

But the problems were on the front end last night, specifically on the powerplay. The Flames had two successive 5-on-3 opportunities -- albeit for about 30 seconds each time -- and couldn't capitalize.

"He's a big horse back there and makes it harder on all their skill guys," Iginla said of Regehr. "But those things happen, and I thought we still had a chance to make a difference and find a way to win that game. We didn't do that in the second period."


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