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Title - Liam Carter
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Follow Me on TwitterLiam Carter is the Calgary Flames' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. He is an avid hockey fan who loves his Flames! If you have questions or wish to contact Liam, you can email him at lcarter@ourhometown.ca
Leland Irving earns first career victory in 3-1 win over rival Canucks
Liam Carter
Our Hometown

Leland Irving earns first career victory in 3-1 win over rival Canucks
Another spectacular performance from young goaltender Leland Irving helped the Calgary Flames earn an impressive 3-1 victory over the much maligned Vancouver Canucks Friday night. With three consecutive wins over the best the western conference has offer, it appears the Calgary Flames may be starting to find their stride.
PHOTO CREDIT - CalgaryFlames.com

Calgary - December 24, 2011 - Another spectacular performance from young goaltender Leland Irving helped the Calgary Flames earn an impressive 3-1 victory over the much maligned Vancouver Canucks Friday night. With three consecutive wins over the best the western conference has offer, it appears the Calgary Flames may be starting to find their stride as they sit just two points shy of a playoff spot with a 17-15-4 record.

I was very happy to see Brent Sutter elect to go with Leland Irving between the pipes seeing as Miikka Kiprusoff has struggled mightily against the Vancouver Canucks over the past two and half seasons, while also coming off an exhausting performance the night prior to the Detroit Redwings. The Calgary Flames showed no signs of fatigue in the early stages of the game as they swarmed the puck on a consistent basis for a good portion of the opening twenty minutes. Had it not been for the steady play of Roberto Luongo the Vancouver Canucks could have possibly found themselves trailing by a pair of goals heading into the second period of play. However Luongo held steady as Calgary outshot the hometown Canucks by a 13-6 margin at the end of twenty minutes.

Calgary carried their strong play into the second frame but again were unable to find the back of the net as Luongo continued his strong play. The second period for the most part consisted of a ton of neutral zone play and puck battles; however it was the Flames who were winning the individual races that resulted in the majority of the puck possession. Due to this Leland Irving was only relied upon to make thirteen saves through the first forty minutes of action. The first goal of the game came just two minutes into the third after a mad scramble in front of the flames net resulted in Jarome Iginla beating out an icing call before finding Curtis Glencross streaking towards the oppositions net. With the marker, Glencross increases his torrent goal scoring streak to four games as he notched his team leading 14th goal of the season. Mikeal Backlund extended the Calgary lead to two as he notched his third goal of the season at the 14:08 minute mark of the third and final frame. The Canucks chose not to go down without making things interesting as Dan Hamhuis ruined Irving’s bid for a shutout with just three minutes remaining in the game. Calgary scored their league leading 7th empty net goal of the season when Olli Jokinen put the game out of reach while extending his point streak to five games.

Currently there is not a whole lot to be upset about with the play of the team. You can’t ask for much more out of the boys seeing as they have now beat three very difficult teams in the span of the last four days. Tonight marked the first of a season high seven game road trip for the Flames as the World Juniors come to town. Three very winnable games in Columbus, New York (Islanders), and Ottawa will close out the 2011 calendar year as the team continues to try and climb back into contention before it’s to late.

Game Day Notes

- Rene Borque returned to game action after serving his two game suspension that was issued earlier in the week.

- Greg Nemisz drew out of the lineup after playing a very limited role against the Detroit Redwings.

- Alex Tanguay missed his second consecutive game due to injury, there are some rumors circulating that he may miss the entirety of the road trip.

- Anton Babchuk is getting closer to making a return after he suffered a broken hand in early November.

- Mark Giordano appears to be well ahead of schedule in regards to his timeline to return. He has resumed on ice skating activities but is still a few weeks from getting back into the lineup If all goes well.

- Two games into his young NHL career Leland Irving boasts an impressive 1.44 Goals against average, and 0.958 Save percentage.

Three Stars

1. Leland Irving (29 Saves, 1st NHL Victory)
2. Curtis Glencross (1 Goal, 1 Assist)
3. Jarome Iginla (2 Assists, good defensively)


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