Twin brothers Henrik, right, and brother Daniel Sedin, celebrate the Canucks\' winning goal. (CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)
Sami Salo scored 2:46 into the extra period to give Vancouver their fifth overtime victory of the season against no defeats, a wild 6-5 win over the Calgary Flames that propelled them into first place in the tight Northwest Division.
"We felt pretty good with the lead going into the third but to lose the lead and all of a sudden we're down a goal, it's hard to take," said Ryan Kesler who scored with 3:40 remaining to force overtime and forge a 5-5 tie.
"To get that goal for me was huge," said Kesler who banged home a rebound and was surprised by two teams known for their defence suddenly giving up a combined 11 goals.
"I would have said we'd need three games to get that many. It's funny how things work out and that's just the way the league is now."
Salo, who has been hampered by a shoulder injury and was receiving treatment after the game, outwaited Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff before beating him from the top of the face-off circle.
The Flames, who have been struggling on the road, took a 5-4 lead with three goals at the start of the third period.
Kristian Huselius scored his second of the game 51 seconds into the period, David Moss got his second in two nights against Vancouver and Daymond Langkow gave Calgary the lead on the power play when a Jarome Iginla pass left him alone in front of Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo.
Byron Ritchie also scored for the Flames.
Vancouver had a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Daniel and Henrik Sedin but was outshot 28-9 over the next 45 minutes.
The Canucks needed help from unexpected sources and got it from Matt Cooke who scored his first goal in 26 games while Brendan Morrison got a short-handed marker to give the Canucks a 4-2 lead entering the third period.
"It's been a long time coming but in the last 10-12 games I felt I was getting into the areas that I needed to get to," said Cooke who took a Trevor Linden pass at his own blue-line and headed for the Calgary net to beat Kiprusoff with a backhand.
"Tonight was just a result of trying to keep it simple."
The Canucks still have the worst record against teams in their own division but their second win in as many nights against Calgary saw them improve to 19-18-1. Vancouver has 39 points, one better than Colorado, Edmonton, Calgary and Minnesota.
"Obviously we knew our divisional play wasn't where we needed it to be," Cooke said. "Our win (Tuesday) night in Calgary was huge but it would have meant nothing if we lose the game tonight.
"That was a big focus of ours to put two back-to-back."
Daniel Sedin, who leads the Canucks with 13 goals, said Vancouver was too passive in the third period.
"You can't do that against Calgary," he said. "They come at you at full speed so it was nice to get the win."
Iginla wasn't satisfied with the point gained from the overtime loss.
"We did a lot of good things but it was a game where we could have gotten better," Iginla said.
"We were able to battle back from two goals down twice so there are a lot of positives. But when you're up by a goal with five minutes left, that's ours to win and we unfortunately didn't shut the door."
Huselius thought his club played better than in the 3-1 loss to Vancouver on Tuesday.
"We found a way to get some goals in the third period and get that point," he said. "We knew tghat even being down tgwo goals we could still comje back and it was nice to get a couple and tie it up."
NOTES: Alex Burrows, who hasn't scored in 45 games, was out of the Vancouver lineup with a sore hip ... the Canucks entered the game with the league's best home-ice penalty kill ... Vancouver continues to face Northwest Division foes Saturday in Edmonton ... they meet the Flames again on Jan. 2 in Calgary prior to a four-game homestand.