Categories: Canada & WorldSports

Ekman-Larsson has 2 points as Canucks down Flames 4-2 in NHL exhibition action

J.T. Miller buried the game-winning goal Monday as the Vancouver Canucks topped the Calgary Flames 4-2 in pre-season action in Abbotsford.

Conor Garland, Chase Wouters and Tanner Pearson also scored for the home side, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson registered a pair of assists.

Calgary’s goals came from Dillon Dube and Connor Mackey.

Michael DiPietro — who spent much of last season on the Canucks’ taxi squad — was solid in net for Vancouver with 25 saves.

Adam Werner stopped 13-of-16 shots for the Flames before being replaced midway through the second period. Daniel Vladar had 12 saves in relief.

The Canucks came into Monday’s matchup after opening the pre-season with a 5-3 loss to the Seattle Kraken in Spokane, Wash., on Sunday. The Edmonton Oilers blanked the Flames 4-0 in Calgary the same night.

Vancouver jumped out to a three-goal lead Monday but the Flames battled back with two strikes of their own in the second frame.

Pearson gave the Canucks some insurance 13:31 into the third period, picking up a drop pass from Ekman-Larsson and riffling it in past Vladar to make it 4-2.

The Flames pulled the goalie in a bid to make a late comeback but couldn’t finish with the extra attacker.

Mackey cut Calgary’s deficit to 3-2 with less than a minute to go in the second period, sneaking a shot past Di Pietro from the blue line.

The Flames’ first tally of the night came on a two-man advantage earlier in the frame.

Canucks captain Bo Horvat was sent to the box for cross checking at 10:59 and his teammates steadily worked to kill off the penalty until defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was sanctioned for the same offence in front of the net. Boos emanated from the crowd as the Flames were given 23 seconds of five-on-three hockey.

Dube scored 11 seconds in with a long bomb through DiPietro’s legs.

The Flames were 1-for-3 on the power play Monday, while the Canucks went 2-for-3 with the man advantage.

A pair of power-play goals helped Vancouver to a 3-0 lead after the first period.

Calgary’s Andrew Mangiapane was called for cross-checking at the Canuck’s bench 15:18 into the opening frame and the home team wasted little time in capitalizing.

A scramble in front of the Flames’ net saw Horvat blast a shot at Werner and the rebound pop out to Miller, who fired it back in over the past the netminder at 15:34.

Three minutes earlier, Vancouver’s Jonah Gadjovich streaked deep into Calgary territory, out waited a sprawled out Juuso Valimaki, then dished the puck to Wouters from the goal line. The 21-year-old forward popped a shot in from the low slot to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead.

A pair of new additions teamed up for Vancouver’s first strike of the night after Flames centre Glenn Gawdin was called for high-sticking 1:41 into the game.

Stationed at the top of the slot, Garland sent a shot screaming through heavy traffic and found the back of the net to open the scoring at 2:28.

Ekman-Larsson was credited with an assist on the play.

READ MORE: Kraken released: Seattle opens NHL preseason with 5-3 win over Vancouver Canucks

Arizona dealt the duo to Vancouver in July in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL entry draft. The Coyotes also received veteran forwards Jay Beagle, Loui Eriksson and Antoine Roussel in the deal, as well as the Canucks’ second-round pick in 2022 and its seventh-round pick in 2023.

The Flames are set to host the Seattle Kraken Wednesday. The Canucks get a brief reprieve before heading to Alberta for a rematch with Calgary on Friday.

NOTES: Vancouver moved its American Hockey League affiliate to Abbotsford earlier this year. The team — known as the Abbotsford Canucks — is set to play their first game against the Bakersfield Condors on Oct. 16. … Pre-game ceremonies marked the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation which is being marked for the first time on Friday.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

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