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Canucks top Flames in SO; Brawl mars opening seconds
Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Higgins netted the winner in the fifth round of the shootout, sending Vancouver to a 3-2 victory over Calgary at Rogers Arena, a quiet ending to a contentious contest which featured more than 200 minutes in penalties.
Two seconds after the drop of the puck, Calgary's Kevin Westgarth engaged Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa at center ice, and eventually all 10 skaters paired off in a line brawl. Both head coaches also argued with each other from their perches on the bench. When order was restored, all 10 players were given misconducts -- eight of which forced combatants off the ice for the remainder of the game.
There were 150 penalty minutes assessed to both sides (81 to the visitors, 69 to the hosts) by the time the contest was 4 1/2 minutes old, owing to a second minor scrum a short time later.
At intermission, Canucks head coach John Tortorella attempted to reach the Flames' locker room, but Calgary players and Vancouver staff restrained him. It is expected that he will receive supplemental discipline from the NHL for his actions.
"Suddenly, I lifted my head and there he was," said Flames coach Bob Hartley.
Ryan Kesler and Yannick Weber tallied in regulation for the Canucks, while Roberto Luongo made 31 saves.
Mark Giordano and Matt Stajan scored for the Flames, and Karri Ramo also came up with 31 stops.
Giordano opened the scoring with a one-timer off a left-circle faceoff win for power-play marker at 1:37 of the second.
Kesler equalized for the hosts at even strength with 3:50 played, going to the net and tipping in a Zack Kassian feed.
Despite failing on an early power-play chance, Stajan put the Flames ahead just after the four-minute mark of the third. He followed up a bouncing puck between the circles and scored with a turnaround backhander.
The Canucks needed all of four seconds on their next chance with the extra man, as Weber's blast from the left point beat Ramo high and over the glove with 8:12 to play.
Ramo stopped five shots and Luongo three in a high-spirited but scoreless overtime.
Both teams scored just once through the first eight chances in the shootout. Mikael Backlund was unsuccessful with his shot to open up the final round, then Kesler finished off the night by getting Ramo to open up his pads and sliding the puck home.
"I can't put our players at risk that way. I'm not proud of it. I've apologized to all of the players involved," Tortorella said. "The most important thing tonight is those two points."
The final tally was 204 PIM, 103 of which were assessed to the Canucks ... Vancouver improved to 3-6 in shootouts this season, while Calgary fell to 3-3 ... Canucks center Henrik Sedin, who was a game-time decision due to an injury, suited up for the 679th consecutive game, but left in the second period and did not return. He is listed as day-to-day ... Weber notched his first goal in 15 games, since Dec. 14 against Boston, while Stajan snapped a 16-game scoreless skid also dating back to Dec. 14, against Buffalo ... Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman set a new career high in ice time by playing a game- high 38:05 ... Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis led his club with 36:12 TOI.
01/19 03:04:17 ET