(SportsNetwork.com) – The Calgary Flames will try to regain the lead in their
Western Conference quarterfinal series when they host the Vancouver Canucks
on Sunday in the first playoff game at the Saddledome in six years.
The Flames won their first playoff game since 2009 with a 2-1 road win in Game
1 of this series, but fell 4-1 in Friday’s second battle at Rogers Arena.
Calgary ended a five-year playoff drought by claiming third place in the
Pacific Division and is trying to win a postseason series for the first time
The last time Calgary hosted a playoff game was on April 27, 2009 when it lost
the final test of a six-game series loss to Chicago. The Flames were 23-13-5
at the Saddledome during the 2014-15 regular season.
Vancouver blew a 1-0 lead in the third period of Game 1, but coasted to
Friday’s victory to even this best-of-seven set at one win apiece. The Canucks
scored twice before Game 2 was eight minutes old and pushed their lead to 3-0
early in the third period.
Calgary cut the deficit to 3-1 on Kris Russell’s power-play goal with 3:34
left, but Radim Vrbata restored Vancouver’s three-goal cushion with an empty-
netter 93 seconds later.
Friday’s clash ended with a bang thanks to some rough stuff in the closing
minutes of the game. With over a minute to play, the teams left their calling
cards for tonight’s rematch as post-whistle violence erupted into multiple
fights which translated into game misconducts for five different players.
“I think there’s always a lot of emotions in the game,” Canucks head coach
Willie Desjardins said. “This is just two teams playing hard.”
No players were suspended for the actions in the brawl, but Flames head coach
Bob Hartley received a $50,000 fine.
After yielding two third-period goals in Game 1, Eddie Lack made 22 saves to
help the Canucks bounce back to tie the series. Lack is getting the nod over
veteran Ryan Miller in this series and has stopped 50-of-53 shots through his
first two playoff appearances.
Daniel Sedin, Chris Higgins and Ronalds Kenins also scored for the hosts, who
ended a string of six postseason losses with their first win since April 18,
2012 in Game 3 of an eventual five-game first-round loss to Los Angeles.
“We got two quick goals and that was big for us,” said Kenins. “The guys did a
great job and stepped up for each other.”
Russell scored for the second straight game after notching the game-winner in
the opener with 29.6 seconds left in regulation. Jonas Hiller allowed three
goals on 29 shots and Karri Ramo stopped two shots in relief late in the third
period. Hiller will get the start again tonight.
“Tonight the Canucks were better than us and deserved to win,” Hartley said.
Calgary forward Lance Bouma missed a fourth straight game with an upper-body
injury and is questionable for Game 3.
The Canucks and Flames split four meetings during the regular season and each
club won a game at the Saddledome.
This series marks the seventh postseason encounter between the clubs, but the
first since the 2004 conference quarterfinals, won in seven games by Calgary.
The Flames have won four of the six prior playoff encounters.
Game 4 is scheduled for Tuesday at the Saddledome.