Vancouver pile up wins before trip



VANCOUVER // The Vancouver Canucks edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Monday to notch their season-high fifth consecutive win. Brad Lukowich, a minor league call-up who had scored once in the last three seasons, was the unlikely game winner, taking a between-the-legs pass from Daniel Sedin and driving it past the Sabres goalie Ryan Miller at 5:21 in the third period. "It's been almost two years now, so it's been a while that's why I looked to the heavens," Lukowich said. "I just put my stick down and screamed like crazy."

The victory continued the Canucks' winning run as they prepare to play their final home game against the St Louis Blues today then head out on a marathon road trip as the Winter Olympics take over GM Place. It will be almost two months before the Canucks return home for a March 13 date with the Ottawa Senators, a stretch of 14 away games that will be split by the NHL's Olympic break. Of their recent five-game run, four of the Canucks' wins have come at GM Place.

"We've been saying all along we need as many home wins as we can because it is a tough road schedule," Sedin said. "I'm sure we'll get some wins the way we're playing right now." If the Canucks needed reminding of how tough a grind life away from home can be, they only needed to look across the ice at the road-weary Sabres, who suffered their fourth consecutive defeat to end a seven-game road trip.

Elsewhere in the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Rangers 4-2, thanks largely to two goals by Chris Conner, who was called up from the Pens' minor league team in Wilkes-Barr, Pennsylvania, the morning of the game, while the Calgary Flames lost their seventh in succession, going down 2-0 to the visiting St Louis Blues. * Reuters

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