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Canucks host Flames in clash between struggling teams

Jan 18, 2014 - 4:34 PM
( - The Vancouver Canucks aim to put a horrid road trip behind them on Saturday night as they return home to face the also-struggling Calgary Flames.

The Canucks scored just one goal over an 0-3-0 swing on the West Coast. They began the trip by getting shut out 1-0 in Los Angeles, were blasted 9-1 in Anaheim on Wednesday and then blanked 1-0 again the following night in Phoenix.

Eddie Lack, who allowed three goals on 13 shots in just under 24 minutes of action versus the Ducks, was solid with 22 saves on Thursday, yielding the game's lone goal with 7:09 to play in the first period.

The struggling offense failed to do its part, going 0-for-7 on the power play, and Vancouver lost for the eighth time in its past nine games (1-5-3). That has dropped the Canucks into a tie with Minnesota for seventh place in the Western Conference, six points behind sixth-place Los Angeles.

"It's a team that is having a hell of a time making an offensive play," said Vancouver head coach John Tortorella. "It's a game of those little details and things just aren't working."

Tortorella's offense also saw two players suffer injuries as forward Mike Santorelli left the game in the second period and reportedly exited the arena with his arm in a sling, while forward David Booth took a high stick to the face that drew a double minor penalty.

Vancouver was also without No. 1 netminder Roberto Luongo for a sixth game in a row with an ankle injury and it remains unknown when he will be able to return.

That could mean Lack starts again tonight, though the rookie has won both of his meetings with the Flames this season. He made his NHL debut in Calgary on Oct. 6 and stopped 32-of-36 shots faced in a 5-4 victory, then logged an 18- save shutout -- the second of his career -- on the road in a Dec. 29 encounter.

With the two road wins, the Canucks have won four straight, 12 of 16 and 16 of their last 21 meetings with the Flames. They have claimed four straight and nine of the last 11 at home.

Calgary will still be glad to visit Vancouver given its current home struggles.

The Flames lost a 5-2 decision to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, Calgary's seventh straight loss at home. It has been outscored 22-4 over that club- record home losing streak.

Mark Giordano and Lance Bouma scored for the Flames, losers in nine of their last 11 overall. Reto Berra surrendered all five goals on just 23 shots in the loss.

"It's pretty tough to generate energy when you give the first two goals. In the NHL you let guys get great shots right from 10-15 feet from the net you're looking for trouble," stated Flames head coach Bob Hartley. "Obviously with the way that we played here in the past games our confidence is very fragile."

Calgary was again without forward Mike Cammalleri due to a concussion, while forward Blair Jones missed his 11th game in a row with a meniscal tear. However, he has been cleared to return and on Friday skated on a line with Paul Byron and Matt Stajan.

Karri Ramo is scheduled to start for Calgary and is 1-1-0 with a 2.52 GAA in two previous encounters with the Canucks.

Ramo posted his first NHL shutout on Monday versus Carolina, but then yielded four goals on 34 shots the following night in a loss to Nashville.