Surprise back-up goaltender Dustin Butler got the customary solo laps, Roberto Luongo got the uncustomary start and Cory Schneider got his fill of the flu Wednesday.

As if there wasn't enough drama surrounding the Vancouver Canucks to open a five-game road trip with a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.

The suspense off the ice was finally replaced by some of it on the ice when Max Lapierre, Mason Raymond and Daniel Sedin scored in the final 7:23 to turn a 1-1 snoozer into the Roberto Luongo Show. It was a sparkling 40-save effort by the forgotten stopper who reminded everyone how much pride and trade value he still has.

"It was not a statement, but I needed to do this for myself," said Luongo, who hadn't started since March 18. "I've been through a lot the last few weeks and I want to make sure I showed the guys that I'm here for the rest of the year and 100 per cent dedicated.

"I was nervous. Go figure. After 12 years and I wanted to get a chance to win. I got those butterflies right away and be a part of competition again."

Schneider didn't take the morning optional skate and that didn't create a buzz because after 11-straight starts, he was probably resting for his 12th. Or retching. The development came to public attention on Twitter in the late afternoon and there wasn't a release by the Canucks, but the University of Calgary did send out one of their own. After signing an amateur tryout contract, Butler did his best Chris Levesque impersonation and sat on the bench and probably wondered how that finger that Luongo hurt in the pre-game warm-up Monday was feeling. Imagine if it swelled up to the point where he couldn't play Wednesday? And with the game salted away, there was even a clamour to get Butler in.

"They were joking on the bench that if they scored on that last power play that I was going in," chuckled Butler, who got his stick signed by the entire club. "After they scored, they all started yelling at the coach to put me in. It was alright by me to sit and watch. The guys treated me really well and made me feel a part of things and it was a lot of fun.

"I was in the same situation a couple of years ago, but couldn't go because I was hurt at the time."