Flames defeat Canucks 3-1 to take stranglehold on series

 

 
 
 
 
Vancouver Canucks’ Henrik Sedin, left, from Sweden, and teammate Luca Sbisa, right, from Italy, converge on Calgary Flames’ Joe Colborne.
 
 

Vancouver Canucks’ Henrik Sedin, left, from Sweden, and teammate Luca Sbisa, right, from Italy, converge on Calgary Flames’ Joe Colborne.

Photograph by: Jeff McIntosh, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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CALGARY -- Their day began with first-line winger Alex Burrows being taken to hospital on a stretcher. It ended with the Vancouver Canucks on life support.

Desperately needing a win, the Canucks couldn’t find one Tuesday night, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

As that noted philosopher Grover of Sesame Street likes to say, it was a bad, awful day for the Canucks. They now trail the best-of-seven series 3-1 with Game 5 scheduled for Thursday night at Rogers Arena.

The Canucks are just one loss away from another long summer.

“We win, it’s that simple,” said Vancouver winger Jannik Hansen. “We have to win. No more lifelines, second chances or whatever you might call them. We’ve got to win Game 5 and that’s it right now.

“That’s all we can care about, that’s all that we can have in our mind. It’s not the big task, it’s one game.”

The Canucks fell behind early, thanks in large part to a toxic combination of undisciplined penalties and bad penalty-killing.

It didn’t help that two of their top penalty-killers, Alex Burrows and Brad Richardson, were out of the game. Burrows was taken to hospital with what was reported to be a rib injury after the game-day skate. Richardson was scratched with an undisclosed injury.

The Flames struck for two power-play goals in the first period and got an even-strength goal in the final minute of the first to grab a 3-1 lead.

“We knew the refs were going to call this one a little bit different,” Hansen said. “We had been warned. Every guy in here knew that. We got caught on it. There’s no excuse for that and our penalty-kill, which has been so good throughout the entire season, let us down.”

That has been one of the stories of this series. The Flames have scored on four of 11 power-play opportunities. Calgary has at least one power-play goal in the last three games. The last time the Canuck PK gave up goals in three straight games was way back in early February.

Their PK, which was second best in the NHL during the regular season at 85.7 per cent, is now dead last in the playoffs at a dreadful 63.6 per cent

“You are going to take penalties in a game, especially in a playoff game,” said Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa. “It’s not like we were short-handed the whole game. We have to kill those.”

Rookie Johnny Gaudreau opened scoring at 3:23 when he converted a cross-ice pass from defenceman Dennis Wideman. The goal came with Canuck winger Ronalds Kenins off serving a penalty for a boarding call on Sam Bennett.

Henrik Sedin answered five minutes later with a Canucks power-play goal. His attempted pass deflected off Calgary defenceman Kris Russell and through the pads of Calgary goalie Jonas Hiller.

But Jiri Hudler scored just over a minute later on another Calgary power play when he tipped a Wideman shot from the left circle past Vancouver goalie Eddie Lack. Nick Bonino was off serving a roughing minor at the time.

Bennett finished off a 3-on-2 rush at 19:18 of the first to make it 3-1.

“Apart from the penalties I thought we played a real good first period, but again we’ve got to keep our emotions in control,” Henrik Sedin said. “They are up 3-1 before the game starts.”

The Flames scored their three first-period goals on just seven shots. The Canucks actually carried the play when it was 5-on-5. Ryan Miller replaced Lack to start the second period and now figures to start Game 5.

The Canucks may have to conjure up some memories of 1994, when they came back from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Flames during their 1994 run to the Stanley Cup Final.

“We go back home and win a game,” Bieksa said. “That’s the beauty of a seven-game series. They have to win one more, so we just keep winning games and we are going to stay alive. We go back, put everything we can on home ice and win that next game. Then the pressure goes back on them.”

With Burrows and Richardson out, coach Willie Desjardins juggled his lines. Linden Vey and Brandon McMillan both played their first game of the series.

Vey and McMillan skated with Chris Higgins. Jannik Hansen took Burrows’ spot on the top line with the Sedins, while Shawn Matthias joined Nick Bonino and Radim Vrbata.

Vrbata skated with the Sedins in the third period.

GAME ESSENTIALS

THE SKINNY

It got ugly early for the Canucks as they fell behind 3-1 in the first period despite giving up just seven shots. Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler scored on the power play and Sam Bennett netted one at even strength in the period’s last minute. Henrik Sedin briefly tied the game 1-1 on a Canuck power play. The Flames then smothered the Canucks for most of the final 40 minutes until a late fruitless Vancouver push.

PIVOTAL POINT

With the Canucks down 2-1 late in the first period, the Flames scored off the rush against the Matthias-Bonino-Vrbata line with 42 seconds remaining, 18-year-old rookie Sam Bennett deflecting T.J. Brodie’s shot that appeared to catch Eddie Lack off his angle. It was a back breaker and soon the end of night for Lack, who was replaced by Ryan Miller to start the second period.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Canucks have been down 3-1 in a best-of-seven series seven times in their playoff history and have come off the mat three times to win, most recently in 2003 against the St. Louis Blues with Marc Crawford behind the bench. The other two times occurred in 1992 against the original Winnipeg Jets and in 1994 against the Flames with Pavel Bure netting the unforgettable double overtime winner in Game 7.

BY THE NUMBERS

The Canucks are 2-13 in their last 15 playoff games and 1-8 in their last nine on the road… Daniel Sedin appeared in his 100th career playoff game… The Canucks directed 70 pucks at the Flame net, with only 29 getting through. Another 29 were blocked and 12 missed… Michael Ferland had another eight hits as Calgary out-hit the Canucks 29-18… Linden Vey became the ninth rookie to appear in the series.

QUOTABLE

“The effort is there. Everybody is doing everything. In the last second, everybody is sacrificing and blocking shots and that’s what we need. That’s what we did the whole year long and that’s what makes us successful.” – Flames goalie Jonas Hiller to HNIC’s Scott Oake after making 28 saves, including 15 in the third period, in Calgary’s 3-1 victory.

Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun

 
 
 
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Vancouver Canucks’ Henrik Sedin, left, from Sweden, and teammate Luca Sbisa, right, from Italy, converge on Calgary Flames’ Joe Colborne.
 

Vancouver Canucks’ Henrik Sedin, left, from Sweden, and teammate Luca Sbisa, right, from Italy, converge on Calgary Flames’ Joe Colborne.

Photograph by: Jeff McIntosh, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
Vancouver Canucks’ Henrik Sedin, left, from Sweden, and teammate Luca Sbisa, right, from Italy, converge on Calgary Flames’ Joe Colborne.
Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack, right, from Sweden, looks on as teammate Luca Sbisa, centre, from Italy, checks Calgary Flames’ Sam Bennett into the net.
Michael Ferland #79 of the Calgary Flames checks Kevin Bieksa #3 of the Vancouver Canucks.
Vancouver Canucks Dan Hamhuis, left, and Calgary Flames Joe Colborne fight during Game  3 of the Western Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 19, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Jiri Hudler #24 of the Calgary Flames chases the puck against Jannik Hansen #36 of the Vancouver Canucks.
Kris Russell #4 of the Calgary Flames battles for the puck against Daniel Sedin #22 of the Vancouver Canucks.
Vancouver Canucks’ Henrik Sedin, left, from Sweden, and Derek Dorsett, second from right, jostle with Calgary Flames’ Dennis Wideman, centre, as goalie Jonas Hiller, from Switzerland, looks on.
Kris Russell #4 of the Calgary Flames fights Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3 of the Western Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 19, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Vancouver Canucks' Kevin Bieksa, left, punches Calgary Flames' Michael Ferland during 3 of the Western Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 19, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Members of the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks rough it up during Game 2 in Vancouver on Friday.
Calgary Flames' Michael Ferland, left, struggles as he fights with Vancouver Canucks' Kevin Bieksa during Game 3 of the Western Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 19, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Fans of the Calgary Flames celebrate after a goal against the Vancouver Canucks.
Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin, right, from Sweden, celebrates a goal by his brother Henrik Sedin. as Calgary Flames goalie Jonas Hiller, from Switzerland, looks back at the net.
Fans arrive for Game Four of the Western Quarterfinals between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks.
Sven Baertschi #47 of the Vancouver Canucks warms up before Game Four.
Vancouver Canucks' Alexander Edler, right, from Sweden, fights with Calgary Flames' Joe Colborne during Game 3 of the Western Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 19, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Kevin Bieksa of the Vancouver Canucks and Michael Ferland of the Calgary Flames shout mean things at each other during Game 2 in Vancouver on Friday.
(top to bottom) Markus Granlund #60, Johnny Gaudreau #13, Josh Jooris #86 and Mason Raymond #21 of the Calgary Flames come out for warm-ups prior to Game Four of the Western Quarterfinals against the Vancouver Canucks during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 21, 2015 in Calgary.
Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller, right, gets shoved into the net during a fracas with the Calgary Flames.
A Vancouver Canucks fan carries a Stanley Cup into Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on April 15, 2015.
Eddie Lack of the Vancouver Canucks skates away as players with the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames mix it up during Game 2 in Vancouver on Friday.
Former Vancouver Canucks captain Stan Smyl, director of player development for the Vancouver Canucks, leads a groups of fans celebrating the start of Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at Rogers Arena on April 15, 2015 in Vancouver.
Brad Richardson of the Vancouver Canucks and Matt Stajan #18 of the Calgary Flames exchange words following a scrap during Game 2 in Vancouver on Friday.
David Jones #19 of the Calgary Flames chases Dan Hamhuis #2 of the Vancouver Canucks.
Derek Dorsett and Brad Richardson of the Vancouver Canucks wrestle with Deryk Engelland and Matt Stajan of the Calgary Flames fight during Game 2 in Vancouver on Friday.
The "C" of red was in full force for Game 3 in Calgary on Sunday.
The Calgary Flames salute the crowd after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Four of the Western Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 21, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Flames defeated the Canucks 3-1.
Vancouver Canuck fans wave towels during Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on April 15, 2015.
Some Calgary fan pretends he is Superman. While Superman III was filmed in Calgary, the Man of Steel has never officially endorsed the Flames or any other NHL team for that matter.
Fans of the Calgary Flames get ready for Game 3 in Calgary.
There may have been fights between drunken Flames-Canucks supporters inside the building but fans of the two teams were all smiles outside of Rogers Arena before Game 1.
Michael Ferland #79 of the Calgary Flames exchanges words with Chris Tanev #8 of the Vancouver Canucks.
Vancouver Canucks’ Henrik Sedin, left, from Sweden, and teammate Luca Sbisa, right, from Italy, converge on Calgary Flames’ Joe Colborne.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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