Flames 'buckle down' against Canucks

 

 
 
 
 
Calgary Flames right wing David Jones’s shot goes past Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack (31).
 
 

Calgary Flames right wing David Jones’s shot goes past Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack (31).

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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VANCOUVER - All season long the Calgary Flames came from behind to win games.

Why should the playoffs be any different?

The Flames scored two third-period goals to beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 and draw first blood Wednesday night in their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series.

“I don’t think we want to play from behind, especially against a team like that,” said winger David Jones, who got Calgary’s comeback started when he tied the game at 7:59 of the third period. “But we’re definitely comfortable being in that position in the third period. We have done it a lot this year. We’ll try and get the first goal next time, but it worked out tonight.

“We just seem to find another gear in the third. I’m not sure what it is. We kind of buckle down and because we have done it this year, we kind of get the ball rolling. It has just kind of gotten better and better all season.”

The Flames got better as Wednesday night’s game went on. Both of their goals came after they had the Canucks hemmed inside their own zone.

Defenceman Kris Russell scored the game-winner at 19:30 of the third when his shot from just inside the left point sailed through a sea of bodies and past Vancouver goalie Eddie Lack.

“I thought our forwards did a nice job of just cycling the puck,” Russell said. “They did a good job of protecting the puck and drawing some guys and Wides (Dennis Wideman) made a great pass. I had a lane and the guys did such a good job of getting in his way. I don’t think he (Lack) saw it and that’s how we are going to have to score goals.”

The Flames, who had 24 come-from-behind wins in the regular season, now have a chance to take a 2-0 series lead back to Calgary with a win in Game 2 on Friday night at Rogers Arena.

Calgary got strong goaltending from Jonas Hiller, who stopped 29 of 30 Vancouver shots. He made big saves off Daniel Sedin, Chris Tanev and Yannick Weber early in the third to keep the Flames within one.

“Those are the saves you want to make and they can shift the momentum and I think that is what happened,” Hiller said. “I felt really good out there. The guys in front of me were doing a good job of boxing out and clearing rebounds. It’s a great feeling to win that first one.”

The Flames also got a big game from rookie Sam Bennett, who drew the second assist on Russell’s game-winner. Bennett looked right at home playing on a line with Mikael Backlund and Joe Colborne.

That’s not good news for former Canuck Mason Raymond. He was a healthy scratch to make room for Bennett, the fourth overall pick in last summer’s draft.

“It hasn’t been a year I am going to sit here and hang my hat on,” Raymond said before the game. “Who would tell you they don’t want to be part of it, right. But things happen and you deal with them. I’ll leave it at that.”

bziemer@vancouversun.com; twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
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Calgary Flames right wing David Jones’s shot goes past Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack (31).
 

Calgary Flames right wing David Jones’s shot goes past Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack (31).

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
Calgary Flames right wing David Jones’s shot goes past Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack (31).
Kris Russell #4 of the Calgary Flames celebrates with Dennis Wideman #6 after scoring what proved to be the game winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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