National Hockey League

NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, December 29th (All times Eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (22-11-6) at Calgary Flames (14-18-6), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks will be without No. 1 goaltender Roberto Luongo on Sunday night when they begin their post-Christmas schedule with a road test against the Calgary Flames.

Luongo is day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered in the Canucks' last game a week ago, a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. He left at 16:30 of the first period and Eddie Lack made 15 saves in relief.

Brad Richardson scored on the power play and Christopher Tanev netted the tie- breaking tally midway through the third period.

Vancouver won its sixth straight at home and improved to 9-1-1 overall in December with a second straight win.

"These are important wins for us," said Vancouver head coach John Tortorella. "I'm very happy with the team and how they've responded in the last few weeks."

Tortorella will now ride Lack for the near future and Joacim Eriksson was recalled from Utica of the American Hockey League to serve as the backup.

"I have total confidence in his play, so he steps in," said Tortorella of Lack, who carries a 6-2-0 record and 1.93 goals against average over 11 appearances this season.

Lack faced the Flames for the first and only time in his career on Oct. 6, getting a win in his NHL debut despite allowing four goals on 36 shots.

That 5-4 overtime win came in the first of five meetings this season between the Canucks and Flames. Vancouver has won 15 of the last 20 encounters overall and is 7-2-1 in its last 10 in Calgary.

The Flames returned from the holiday break on Friday with a 2-0 shutout loss to the Edmonton Oilers and goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who made 27 saves.

Reto Berra yielded one goal and made 26 saves for the Flames, who were coming off a shootout win over St. Louis on Monday and have dropped five of their past six (1-3-2).

Calgary was shut out for the second time in five games.

"We didn't get the bounces tonight but we weren't good enough. We have to generate more and find ways to score," said Flames captain Mark Giordano, who had a goal waived off in the loss. "For too long of periods of time, we were standing around and not moving our feet enough."

Giordano beat Dubnyk with a wrister from the blue line before it was ruled teammate Joe Colborne had impeded the netminder from making a play on the puck.

Calgary has now split the first two of a five-game homestand.

Berra has never before faced the Canucks.

Forward Mikael Backlund is expected to be a game-time decision after skipping practice on Saturday after getting hurt versus the Oilers.

12/29 10:26:08 ET

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