Vancouver Canucks, Bo Horvat

Canucks Daily: Division Race – Mini Roller Coaster Ride

The Vancouver Canucks are back to a .500 record for the second time in a week with their 4-3 shoot-out win in Calgary over the Flames on Wednesday night. Vancouver remains in 6th place in the Pacific Division, three points behind the team they just beat with a game in hand.

“I was proud of the way we played tonight, it’s a tough building to come into,” Canucks captain Bo Horvat said postgame. “They have a good team over there.”

The Canucks jumped out to a two-nothing lead in the first period with Horvat getting his 21st goal of the season at the 1:14 mark and Conor Garland following with his 5th just 34-seconds later.

The Flames would tie the game before the period was over and take a 3-2 lead at the 3:51 mark of the second. Canucks forward Sheldon Dries re-tied it less than two minutes later to wrap up the game’s regulation scoring.

“Obviously, I would liked to have not given up the two goal lead, but at the same time we didn’t panic,” Horvat added. “In previous games or earlier in the year we might have had a little panic in our game. ‘Driesy’ scored a big goal, and I thought we did a good job after that kind of limiting their Grade-A’s (scoring chances), it was a great game overall and ‘Marty’ was fantastic.”

Marty being Canucks goalie Spencer Martin, who made 35 saves through regulation and overtime and then stoned the Flames in the shoot-out.

“I’ve felt prepared and confident all year,” Martin said postgame.

Next Canucks Challenge

He and the Canucks will get another chance to prove their mettle on Saturday night at home against the much improved Winnipeg Jets.

The Flames lost their fourth game in a row, but they’ve earned a point in each of the last three, one in overtime and two in shoot-outs. They had won their three previous games before this stretch and are 3-2-and-3 in the month of December.

“A big point for us,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said postgame. “Some bad luck early, I thought we had a really good start. (They) scored a deflection goal and a lost coverage goal quick, but I thought we were pretty resilient and battled back.”

With 32 points, Calgary is tied with Colorado for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, but has played three more games than the Avalanche. The Canucks have 29.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.