In the first ever playoff edition of Fireside Chat, we break down the first three games of the series game-by-game and what the Flames have done well, and where they have come up short – and how the league is handing the officiating for this series. Sam Bennett’s playoffs, as well as the surprise playoff run from Michael Ferland. As we look to game four and beyond we discuss what the Flames will have to do to win the series against the Canucks.
And after the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery, we spend a couple minutes talking about the Oilers and what they’re going to do with the first overall pick and Connor McDavid. Would they trade the pick? Or would McDavid pull a Lindros and not sign in Edmonton? This leads us to discussing way more about the Eric Lindros trade than any Flames podcast ever needs.
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Calgary got off to a hot start in the opening couple minutes of the game. Jiri Hudler was left all alone in front of the net and fired a backhander just wide, then Sean Monahan had the puck in the same spot and he fired a backhander off the post. On the next shift, Joe Colborne fed a puck across to Sam Bennett and he tipped it in on Miller, but the Canucks goaltender made an excellent save keeping the game scoreless. You how it goes when you have some close calls at one end, usually the puck ends up in the net at the other end and tonight was no different. A sloppy play by Tyler Wotherspoon in the corner caused a turnover that was fed out to Chris Higgins and he fired a shot on Hiller, with Brandon McMillan pouncing on the rebound to open the scoring only 2:36 in. Calgary resumed putting pressure on Vancouver and was eventually were rewarded with the power play after Alex Edler high sticked David Jones. The Flames came close on the man advantage with Dennis Wideman firing a slapshot that rang off the post. However, it would be the Canucks that would extend their lead as the penalty expired. Shawn Matthias and Jannik Hansen rushed up the ice on a two on one, with Hansen showing some excellent patience, out waiting the Flames goaltender and picking the top corner over Hiller’s glove. Jonas Hiller was pulled from the game after surrendering to goals on three shots. Things went from bad to worse as Sam Bennett was called for slashing only a minute and a half after the Hansen goal. It did not take long for Vancouver to extend their lead to three, only 24 seconds. The Sedin’s patented passing ability eviscerated the Flames defence and Daniel was able to find a streaking Radim Vrbata for a tip been up over Ramo’s pad and glove. Three goals on four shots, not exactly how you would draw up the formula for victory, but that is how this game went. Play settled down in the Flames defensive zone and the Flames began throwing the body again, led by the number one star of the game Michael Ferland. With only three minutes remaining in the opening period, Calgary got on the board. Matt Stajan rushed into the Canucks zone and fed a pass perfectly to a rushing Ferland and he lifted it up and over Miller’s pad. The Flames continued to press but could not yet another one before the intermission.
Tonight will be take two for the Flames as they look to eliminate the Vancouver Canucks on home ice. The Calgary Flames won both contests in the Saddledome as the Canucks had no answer for the C of Red. Facing elimination in Game 5, the Vancouver Canucks played a desperate game throughout and edged the Flames with a 2-1 come from behind victory. Vancouver outshot Calgary 43-21, with the Flames having very few scoring opportunities in the contest. If not for the stellar play of Jonas Hiller, the score could have easily been more lopsided for Vancouver. Typically road teams that earn a 3-1 series lead struggle in Game 5, even Chicago lost to Nashville 5-2 in their series. The major difference between Game 4 and 5 for the Flames was their lack of physicality throughout the game. Calgary will need to rebound and show some desperation of their own on home ice in Game 6 in order to put the Canucks away.
Calgary had the better start between the two teams. Neither side generated a good chance, but both goalies made a few routine saves in the first three minutes. David Jones opened the scoring after a turnover in the Canucks zone. He gloved the puck down to himself and proceeded to pick the top corner on Miller. Ronalds Kenins was called for High Sticking on the shift following the goal, giving the Flames their first power play. Calgary came close to extending their lead when Dennis Wideman fired a shot of the corner of the post and crossbar. TJ Brodie fired the rebound just wide as he had an open net. Following the man advantage, the Canucks began to push back against the Flames. Despite the offensive zone pressure by Vancouver, they did not get any quality chances in on Hiller. Vancouver came close around the 11 minute mark as one of the Sedins set up a one timer at the point that rang off the post. The play went back down to the other end and Colborne set up Sam Bennett in front, but Sam couldn’t bang it through Miller’s pads. On the next shift, Colborne fired a slap pass to Bennett as he was off to the side of Miller, but his re-direction went just wide of the net. Calgary continued to press, but they could not beat Miller. Sven Baertschi made his first impact in the game about 15 minutes in blocking a few Canucks’ shots in front of the Flames net. Someone should tell him that he doesn’t play for Calgary any more. Sam Bennett was called for High Sticking with 3:38 remaining. The best chance for Vancouver was a pass across from Sedin to Vrbata for a one timer, but Hiller dove across to get enough of his glove on it to keep it out. The first period ended with the Flames in the lead 1-0, but were outshot 17-8 in the opening period.
The Calgary Flames head to Rogers Arena with one goal in mind, eliminate the Vancouver Canucks. When the series moved to Calgary, the C of Red and the Flames proved to be too much for Vancouver to handle and Calgary staked out a 3-1 lead in the series. There are a lot of question marks surrounding the Canucks as they will try to find a way to extend their season tonight. Eddie Lack was pulled after the first period in Game 4, while Ryan Miller played decently in relief. It is not known who will get the start for Vancouver in Game 5. In the three losses for Vancouver, they have only managed to score four goals. With their lack of offense, the Canucks have brought up their best offensive prospect from Utica, Sven Baertschi, and he will play in Game 5. He will likely take the spot of Brandon McMillan, who was largely ineffective in the last game for Vancouver. After their own struggles in the first two games, the Sean Monahan line with Jiri Hudler and Johnny Gaudreau has come alive. Those three players, along with Sam Bennett, have scored each of the last five goals for the Flames as Calgary’s best players have been their best players.
With the Canucks trailing in the series 2-1, you would expect them to come out throwing everything at the Flames, but it was Calgary that got off to the hot start instead. Calgary controlled the play right off the bat, which eventually forced Ronalds Kenins to take a boarding penalty two minutes into the game. Johnny Gaudreau open the scoring of the 3:23 mark on the power play. Jiri Hudler had the puck behind the Canucks net and fed a pass between his legs over to Dennis Wideman in front and he passed it across the crease to Gaudreau for the tap in. Following the goal, David Jones angled Luca Sbisa right into the path of the Ferland train and was run over by Michael. As the play continued up the ice, Jonas Hiller slid across the ice to make glove save on a one timer keeping the Flames in the lead. Vancouver opened up a 6-2 lead in the shot department in the opening seven minutes, but were unable to solve Hiller. David Schlemko was called for slashing the stick out of Brandon McMillan’s hands. Vancouver found the equalizer a minute into the power play, with a good passing play of their own. Alex Edler collected the puck at the player’s bench side of the zone and fed a cross ice pass to Daniel Sedin, who quickly passed it in front of the Flames net, where Henrik deflected it in past Hiller. Less than a minute later, Nick Bonino was called for roughing TJ Brodie. It only took Calgary 18 seconds on the man advantage to retake the lead. Dennis Wideman received a pass from Kris Russell and fired a slapshot towards Lack that looked like it was going to be an easy save. However, Jiri Hudler was in front and got his stick on the puck deflecting it over Lack’s shoulder. The teams traded chances in the second half of the period, but both goaltenders made some nice saves to keep it deadlocked. It appeared that the game was going to head to the intermission with the same score is was in Game 3, but TJ Brodie, Joe Colborne, and Sam Bennett had other ideas. Mikael Backlund collected the puck in the Flames zone, deflecting it off the side boards up to Joe Colborne. He brought the puck into the Canucks zone and fed the pass across to TJ Brodie. Brodie took a wrist shot that hit Sam Bennett after already getting past Eddie Lack. It didn’t hit Bennett it would’ve gone in any way. It was Sam Bennett’s second goal of the playoffs. On the ensuing face-off, Bo Horvat was called for high-sticking. Calgary headed to the intermission up 3-1.
The Flames will be seeking to push Vancouver to the brink tonight as they return to the C of Red for Game 4. Calgary was victorious on Sunday over the Canucks 4-2 in Game 3 to give the Flames a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Flames raw physicality wore down their opponent as the game progressed, limiting the ability for Vancouver to break through and generate offense. The best player for Calgary in the series has been Michael Ferland, who celebrated his 23rd birthday yesterday, as he is set the tone early and often in each of the three contests. During every shift in Game 3 he seemed to have a big hit on one of the Canucks’ players, including an absolutely massive hit on Luca Sbisa in the opening minutes. That hit rocketed Sbisa into the boards at the Flames bench and entrenched Ferland firmly under the Canucks skin throughout the contest. In order for the Flames to be successful in Game 4, they will need to continue playing physical against Vancouver.
Calgary got off to a quick start due in large part to the physicality of Sam Bennett and Michael Ferland. Ferland delivered a pair of absolutely massive hits in the first three minutes including one where he rocketed Luca Sbisa into the boards at the Flames bench. The Flames had the momentum in the first five minutes feeding off the energy from the C of Red. The pressure of eventually cause some cracks to form in the Canucks defence allowing Brandon Bollig to open the scoring. It was a quality shift by the flames fourth line as they effectively cycled the puck around and a loose puck came to Bollig in the slot and he picked the far corner with a wrist shot as Lack had slid across from that side just far enough where it opened the lane into the net. Vancouver responded following the Flames goal, it coming close a few times and then eventually tying it up 2:36 later. It was a strange goal where Hiller made the first few saves, but the Flames defence could not clear the puck and banged in by Shawn Matthias. Calgary stepped up their game following the equalizer, with Johnny Gaudreau nearly giving the Flames a lead once again. He skated right to the goal line in the corner and fired a shot that actually went off the far post and out, if he had taken that shot from two or 3 inches further away from the goal line he probably would’ve banked it in off the post but it remained a tied game. TJ Brodie restored the Flames lead with his first playoff point with five minutes remaining in the first period. David Schlemko collected the puck at the Canucks blue line and fed it across to Brodie where he fired it past a perfect screen from Sam Bennett past Lack and in. Brandon Bollig was called for crosschecking with three minutes remaining, giving the Canucks their first man advantage of the contest. However they were not able to get any dangerous shots at Hiller and the period ended without any changes to the scoreboard.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs return to the Scotia Bank Saddledome for the first time since 2009. The C of Red will be in full force to cheer on the Calgary Flames as they face the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3. Vancouver came out hard in Game 2 and capitalized with a pair of goals early in the first, propelling them to an eventual 4-1 victory. The Canucks were desperate to equalize the series before heading to Calgary, and they accomplished their goal. Jonas Hiller struggled in Game 2 and was eventually pulled with about six minutes remaining in the contest. That allowed Karri Ramo to see his first action after leaving the game in Edmonton two weeks ago with a groin injury. No starter has been announced yet for Game 3 by Calgary, but knowing Hartley’s predilections this season, as long as Ramo is healthy he should be good to go. Sam Bennett will likely play in Game 3 after missing most of the second half of the last game. In the second period, he went to hit Alex Edler but was hit by Edler instead. It appeared to sting him in the same shoulder that he just had surgery on in October. He did return for a few shifts in the third period so we do not know how severe the injury is, or if there is one.
It was a quick start for both sides as both teams were throwing the body in the opening minutes. Neither side generated much offense in the first two minutes as they were trying to establish physical dominance. Daniel Sedin opened the scoring three minutes in receiving a pass across from Henrik after Derek Engelland blew a tire at the Flames blue line. Calgary was having some struggles with their defensive coverage early. The Canucks came close again just before the five minute mark on a point shot that was redirected in front, but Hiller got just enough of it to send it wide. Calgary was called for delay of game after Wideman batted a puck over the glass that was in the air over Hiller’s head, saving a possible goal. The Flames did not generate their first shot until the seven minute mark, a wrist shot at Lack during the penalty kill. Vancouver extended their lead to two on the man advantage as Chris Higgins pounced on a loose puck in front of Hiller and slammed it between his legs. Vancouver came close twice to extending their lead to three on the next shift. A blocked two on one chance and another block on a shot from in close prevented the two chances. Play settled down at the halfway mark of the first period, and Calgary began to get some offensive zone presence. The Flames were better in the second half at getting the puck into the zone, but could not string together passes at all and they were intercepted easily by the Canucks defenders. The period ended without much fanfare as the Flames headed to the break down 2-0.