VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- -The Vancouver Canucks learned a few hard lessons while playing an NHL-record 14 straight games on the road.
They are putting them to good use on home ice.
Identical twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin set each other up for first-period goals to help Vancouver jump out to a 3-0 lead, Roberto Luongo made 32 saves and the Canucks hung on to beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Sunday night.
Ryan Kesler also scored in the first period as the Canucks won for a second straight night at home after spending the previous six weeks on the road while Vancouver hosted the Olympics.
They fell behind in 11 of those 14 road games, but corrected that quickly at home. Much like a 5-1 romp over Ottawa on Saturday night, they jumped all over the Flames in the opening period, outshooting Calgary 20-6 while improving to 6-1-1 in their last eight games and 25-7-1 on home ice.
"We've talked about this for a long time, but at home you tend to come out a little bit harder and forecheck a little bit harder," Daniel Sedin said after scoring 1:13 in. "[Scoring first] makes it easier on us mentally."
The Canucks actually lead the NHL with 10 third-period comebacks, including five on the extended trip, but are finding it much easier to play with the lead.
"It's really tough to come back in this league," Henrik Sedin said. "We really got our legs going, came out of the gates strong. I don't know if it's the crowd, just being back home, or what it is, but we seem to create a lot of chances early and got the first goal two games in a row."
Robyn Regehr spoiled Luongo's shutout with 8:10 left as Calgary controlled the last two periods, but still had a four-game winning streak snapped.
"I really don't have words to explain it," coach Brent Sutter said. "I was shocked to see us play that way in the first period. It tells you exactly what preparation is and they get woken up and play better the last two periods."
The Flames remained a point behind Detroit for the final Western Conference playoff spot heading into a showdown with the Red Wings in Calgary on Monday night.
"Obviously, tomorrow night's game is huge for us but this time of year it shouldn't take much to get ready to play, especially being in the situation we're in," Sutter said. "Getting ready to play should be the easy part."
The Flames certainly weren't ready Sunday, despite being off since Thursday and in town to watch the Canucks outshoot Ottawa 17-2 in the first period Saturday.
Daniel Sedin opened the scoring after being robbed on a first chance off the rush. The puck ended up behind the net with Henrik Sedin, who feathered a backhand pass through three Flames to his brother atop the far side of the crease for a one-timer past a helpless Miikka Kiprusoff.
Kesler doubled the lead just over six minutes later, and Henrik Sedin made it 3-0 on a 5-on-3 power play with 3:34 left in the period.
It would have been worse if not for Kiprusoff, who made several spectacular stops before being replaced by Vesa Toskala after the first period.
"Kipper had played one game already," Sutter said. "Twenty-some shots and 14 or 15 quality scoring chances, the period was completely dominated by Vancouver and I didn't think it was fair to our goaltender to keep him in there."
The Flames responded by outshooting Vancouver 10-1 to start the second period, and 27-8 over the final 40 minutes. But they couldn't solve Luongo, who made tough saves on Daymond Langkow and Jamal Mayers, until it was too late.
"Obviously we came out strong," Luongo said after the Canucks failed to record a shot in the third period. "And then I don't know what happened, if we tried to protect the lead or what, but we struggled and they took the momentum and fortunately we were able to hold on."Notes
- Canucks RW Mikael Samuelsson had his goal streak end at six games and nine goals, but an assist extended his points run to seven games. Daniel Sedin has three goals and 13 assists on a 10-game run, and Kesler has six goals and nine assists on a 13-game streak that is the NHL's longest active. Henrik Sedin has three goals and seven assists during a five-game streak and took over the franchise lead for assists, passing Trevor Linden with his 416th career helper.
- Toskala finished with eight saves.
- Calgary had eight new players since the last meeting with Vancouver back on Jan. 9.