The second playoff game in Calgary in 6 years was impressive for many reasons, and not the typical reasons why Calgary Flames wins are impressive.
First, Calgary came out flying. They were hitting everything, they possessed the puck, their power play scored on its first two attempts, and Hiller didn’t allow a bad goal. The Flames jumped out to a 3-1 first period lead, which turned out to be the final score, and that was probably the most impressive feat of all.
The fact that Calgary only allowed 3 shots in the second period was impressive. Now the Canucks did get 15 shots in the third, but at no point in the final 40 minutes did you ever think that Vancouver had all the momentum and if they could only get one then the game was back on.
Both Michael Ferland and Sam Bennett drew penalties, but didn’t take any. Calgary blocked 29 shots in the game and Hiller was still a very impressive .966 save percentage. Calgary chased Eddie Lack after 20 minutes, I guess the chanting got to him.
Kevin Bieksa‘s comments on Michael Ferland were pretty funny, that he was irrelevant. Especially when Bieksa has already been trying to beat up Ferland when he’s not expecting it. My favourite was Bieksa’s slow-motion face when he got hit in the first period.
Now Calgary goes back to Vancouver for a chance to clinch the series in five. Vancouver Canucks are a desperate team now and at home will give it everything they’ve got. If Calgary can score twice in the first period, and keep hitting hard with the aggressive forecheck, then they have a shot at winning in five. Although I really don’t think Vancouver will go quietly into the night. This series will be headed back to Calgary for game six.
On another note, Juri Hudler has been nominated for the Lady Byng, and you have to believe he’s the front-runner. Kopitar is deserving but couldn’t lead his team to the post season, and Pavel Datsuk wins it every year. So, isn’t this the year for the Flames to get some hardware?