The Vancouver Canucks have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL recently and they will look to continue that string play on Saturday night against fellow Canadian rivals the Calgary Flames at home in Rogers Arena.
The Canucks have won four straight games behind the play of goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, who have each won three games for Vancouver. Luongo has been the center of trade talks all season, but he has been stellar in net while making four straight starts.
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Schneider was in net on Thursday for the 4-1 victory at Minnesota where he had 22 saves and he is expected to be in net on Saturday against Calgary.
"It's great knowing there's another guy who can go in there and put up those kind of numbers, and it just motivates you to be that good and chase him," said Schneider, who saw his first action in 11 days. "I've been doing it for a couple years now, and I think the team enjoys that, just knowing whoever's in the net we can win."
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault is waiting until game time to make a decision in goal.
"We've got two world-class goalies and it's a problem a lot of teams would like to have," winger Chris Higgins said. "Great guys and we'll take that effort every night from our goalies."
The Flames have had a focus in net as well, but not for the best of reasons. Starter Miikka Kiprusoff was placed on injured reserve Friday with a knee sprain, leaving Calgary to use Leland Irving, who had 26 saves in his first start of the season Thursday in a 4-3 overtime win at the Blue Jackets.
"There's nothing better. It's pretty exciting," Irving said. "The boys really came through tonight and played great. I'm glad they were rewarded with two points."
Alex Tanguay has been the most consistent player on the Flames, leading the team in points with nine. He scored the wining goal in overtime against Columbus to keep his seven game point streak alive and he is working to give Calgary a three game winning streak.
"I really like the way that we're performing right now," coach Bob Hartley said. "I'm proud for the guys. We're very demanding intensity-wise, discipline-wise but they're responding well."
The Canucks have been excellent in goal, ranking fifth in the league in goals against while scoring 2.6 per game. The special teams have been lacking with the power play ranking 23rd and the penalty kill ranked 20th in the NHL. Calgary has been inconsistent in net due to the injury to Kiprusoff, ranking 25th in goals against. The Flames are ninth in the league with 3.0 goals per game and are fifth on the power play, converting 26.5 percent with the advantage,