(SportsNetwork.com) – The Calgary Flames couldn’t finish off the Vancouver
Canucks on the road, but they’ll get a second chance at ending this series in
Saturday’s Game 6 on home ice.
The Flames, who are attempting to advance to the second round for the first
time since 2004, jumped out to a 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven Western
Conference quarterfinal, but fell in Vancouver on Thursday night.
The Canucks played at a breakneck pace with their season on the line in Game 5
and extended the series with a 2-1 victory at Rogers Arena. Vancouver outshot
Calgary by a 43-21 margin in the win and fired 17 shots on net in each of the
first two periods.
Nick Bonino and Daniel Sedin scored the goals for Vancouver, while Ryan Miller
made 20 saves in the must-win game. Miller, still somewhat recovering from a
knee injury, earned his first starting nod of the series following a flawless
relief effort of an ineffective Eddie Lack in Game 4. The veteran will get the
call over Lack again tonight.
“We showed what we can do tonight,” Bonino said. “We played well offensively
Vancouver has come back from 3-1 deficits to win a series three times in its
history and the last occurrence was against St. Louis in the opening round of
the 2003 playoffs. The Canucks also achieved the 3-1 comeback against Calgary
in the 1994 conference quarterfinals. That marked the last time the Flames
held a 3-1 lead in the playoffs.
If the Canucks can win again tonight they will host a decisive Game 7 at home
David Jones scored Calgary’s only goal and Jonas Hiller kept the Flames in it
with 41 saves. Hiller may need a similar performance tonight at the Saddledome
if the Flames hope to eliminate the desperate Canucks for their first playoff
series win in 11 years.
“We knew they weren’t going to go away easily,” Hiller said. “I think we have
proven we can step up and get better.”
The Flames are trying to advance past the opening round for the first time
since reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004. Calgary beat Vancouver in the
first round that season.
Calgary is in the playoffs for the first time since 2009, while Vancouver is
making its sixth postseason appearance in seven springs. However, one more
loss in this best-of-seven set would give the Canucks their third straight
first-round exit since making it to the Cup Finals in 2011 when they lost to
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 playoff encounters.