CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - The Vancouver Canucks wrapped up the best regular season in franchise history and star Daniel Sedin gave them back-to-back scoring champions. The team hopes a Stanley Cup title in next.
Christian Ehrhoff scored at 2:41 of overtime to lift the Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.
After rallying from a 2-0 deficit in the third, the Canucks got the victory when Ehrhoff's slap shot from the blue line beat Henrik Karlsson between his pads. Karlsson was furious after the goal, pleading with the referees that he had been interfered with.
``We won the game tonight, but at the end of the day it's not going to mean anything, we've got to start focusing on the playoffs,' said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. ``As a player it's challenging, you want to stay on the conservative side, but at the same time it's like a hard practice, the best way to stay sharp and stay healthy is to do things the right way.'
Daniel Sedin had a pair of assists to clinch the NHL scoring race with 41 goals and 63 assists. Twin brother Henrik Sedin won the scoring title last season.
Daniel Sedin's 104 points are the fewest for an Art Ross Trophy winner since Tampa Bay's Marty St. Louis won it with 94 in 2003-04.
Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows also scored for Vancouver (54-19-9), which finishes the season with a team-record 117 points. The playoffs begin on Wednesday, but the Canucks will not know their first-round opponent until Sunday.
Jarome Iginla and Mikael Backlund scored for Calgary, which missed the playoffs for the second season in a row.
``In the last 50 games, I think our record is somewhere close to the top five teams in the league so as tough as this is, there's more optimism than there was at the end of last year,' said Iginla.
Since reaching the Stanley Cup final in 2004, Calgary has either lost in the first round or missed the playoffs entirely.
``Certainly tonight, the legs weren't there. It was hard to find the motivation,' said Flames winger Alex Tanguay, who had an assist to finish second on the team with 69 points.
It was a battle of backups with Cory Schneider drawing the start for the Canucks against Karlsson, who finished with 36 saves in just his second start since Jan. 21.
Vancouver trailed 2-0 heading to the third and after getting outshot 15-2 in the second.
However, the visitors came out flying in the final period, cutting the deficit to 2-1 on Burrows' goal at 2:02.
The Canucks kept pressing and tied it on the power play at 11:05.
The tying goal came compliments of more wizardry with the puck from the Sedin brothers. Daniel crosses the Flames' blue line and sent a behind-the-back pass to Henrik, who slid it over to Kesler for a one-timer that beat Karlsson over his glove.
Karlsson is one of several Flames who may have played their last game in Calgary. Other pending unrestricted free agents include Tanguay, Curtis Glencross, Anton Babchuk and the injured Brendan Morrison.
Schneider made 34 saves to improve to 16-4-2. He played his 25th game of the season, qualifying the rookie to get his name alongside Roberto Luongo's on the William Jennings trophy, which goes to the team that surrenders the fewest goals. Vancouver clinched the trophy for the first time, allowing just 183 goals.
``You always want to win your last game,' Schneider said. ``For me, it might be the last one for a while, but I tried to make it feel as if it were a playoff game and to bring that kind of intensity in competition.'
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, Calgary scored twice in the second.
Iginla opened the scoring on a two-man advantage at 2:39. Tanguay neatly stepped around Kevin Bieksa then dished off a pass to Iginla, who scored his 13th goal in 10 games.
Backlund made it 2-0 just past the midway point in the period, again on the power play. The rookie scored his 10th on a set up in the slot from Mark Giordano.
Notes: Vancouver D Dan Hamhuis (concussion) returned after missing five games. ... Iginla's goal gives him 1,006 career points, tying him with Lanny McDonald for 75th on the NHL's all-time list.
The Associated Press News Service
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