VANCOUVER -- Doesn't it just make you await the rematch with bated breath?
And just imagine, there's only two more sleeps until it happens.
Thanks to shootout goals by Tony Amonte and Steven Reinprecht, the Calgary Flames claimed a see-saw
6-5 shootout victory over the Vancouver Canucks last night.
Hardly a typical Flames win but, as Darren McCarty said, two points are two points.
"Sometimes it doesn't matter what you do -- it's gonna be one of those high-scoring games, going back and forth," he said.
"In those type of games, you've got to hope you're the last one to score and win.
"We pride ourselves on our goals against but sometimes you have to win a game 6-5.
"It was end-to-end action and anybody who's a hockey fan and watched it should have been entertained. That was a pretty good Christmas present."
Amonte played Grinch, salting away the game with his shootout goal, after Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff denied both Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi.
Despite giving up five goals, Kiprusoff made some spectacular stops long before the shootout.
His inflamed hip didn't seem to bother him on this night.
"I've been playing with it quite a long time already," Kiprusoff said. "For sure, I'm not 100 percent but I can play with it and help the team."
With the win, the Flames improve to 20-11-4, while Vancouver falls to 20-10-5 in the wild Northwest Division standings.
It was a game reminiscent of the last clash at GM Place, when Calgary relinquished a late lead but scored in overtime to eliminate the Canucks in the first round of the playoffs.
It also provided Flames fans one last present before Christmas. Best of all, it's same time, same place for the combatants when they meet Boxing Day.
In addition to his shootout tally, Reinprecht scored twice and assisted on a Jarome Iginla goal in the third period.
With Vancouver ahead by one early in the final frame, Reinprecht took advantage of a poor clearing attempt by netminder Alex Auld to tie the clash at 3-3.
Reinprecht struck again only 59 seconds later with a powerplay goal, a deflection of a Dion Phaneuf point shot.
"It was just some lucky bounces," said Reinprecht, "but I'll take it."
Canucks defenceman Bryan Allen knotted the game at 4 with a long point shot.
Twenty-nine seconds later, Jarome Iginla joined the fun with his first of the night, a neat deflection of a Reinprecht shot that just made it inside the post.
But Naslund added his second of the game with 2:11 remaining in regulation to again make it even.
It was that kind of night.
"Lately, we've gotten away from our identity a little bit," said Reinprecht, an understatement to be sure.
"We're more of a low-scoring team and try to keep the other team off the scoreboard.
"Tonight we were able to stick with it and battle it out."
Calgary was forced to go almost the whole game without defenceman Rhett Warrener, who suffered an apparent knee injury after his leg became tangled with Kristian Huselius while trying to tag Vancouver's Ryan Kesler.
Chris Simon and Chuck Kobasew scored the other Flames goals.
Both goalies faced 37 shots.
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CALGARY FLAMES: 6
VANCOUVER CANUCKS: 5