Vancouver Barely Wins. Back For Game Six | Series: Calgary 3 – Vancouver 2

With the season on the line, and in front of their hometown, the Canucks threw everything they had at the Flames and barely squeaked by with a victory. Although they controlled most of the play, Calgary still had a chance to tie it up in the third period. (Corsi stat lovers will eat this one up all night long.)

It was a elimination night for the Vancouver Canucks. Nobody had the Calgary Flames coming in to game five with a 3-1 series lead. Vancouver hasn’t played their best hockey, and truth be told they we’re projected higher than what the team actually plays. Of course didn’t stop them from throwing the entire kitchen sink at the Flames. Over 30 shots over two periods alone.

The Flames struck first off of a defensive giveaway. The gift left David Jones alone out front and he snapped home a goal low glove side. When the forecheck is rolling Calgary can’t be stopped. When they stop moving their feet the possession game, which is usually tipping in the opponents favour, really gets lopsided.

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Flames Lead Series 3-1 : Flames Win Game 4 : 3-1

Scored tickets last minute to this doozy and BAM! what a game it was! I’ve been to playoff games all through 2004, 2009, and today, and I can say without a doubt, this is not only different, but it was the loudest!

The talk around town before the game was that if the Calgary Flames couldn’t get off to the same start as they did in Game 3 they would win. All of the pregame banter centered around Vancouver’s lack of scoring and old man Kevin Bieska’s failed mind games. Most before puck drop fans learned that public enemy #1 Alex Burrows was going to miss the game with a suspected broken rib. Too bad, the Canucks could’ve used him.

No matter, the Flames picked up from where they left off in Game 2, and the fans did their part blowing the roof off the ‘Dome. The team fed off the enthusiasm and capitalized quickly on the PP with Gaudreau scoring his first. Monahan has largely been quiet and continues to float around, but Hudler and Gaudreau got on the scoresheet tonight.

Vancouver responded to the opening goal quickly silencing the crowd. Looking at the tweets during the game, pundits thought the Flames were badly outplayed, and although they spent more time in their own zone tonight compared to Game 3, they found ways to take advantage of their opportunities. Watching the game live you didn’t get the sense that Vancouver had momentum or quality scoring chances even though they had zone time. Calgary on the other hand, scored 3 goals in the first off of 8 shots. 2 on the PP, all lead by the defence.

The crowd was bananas loud the entire time.

Gaudreau, Hudler, and Bennett with his second rounded out the scoring in the first. Michael Ferland with more hits in the first than the ENTIRE Canuck lineup COMBINED. How’s that for irrelevant Bieska? By they way, he took the majority of boos all game and looked like an old man on skates fighting the puck all game long.

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Calgary Smashes Vancouver 4-2: Lead Series 2-1

After six years long years, and only two years into a promising rebuild, the Flames brought playoff hockey back to Calgary. This city has been largely on pause since the playoffs began, today being no exception with fans spilling into the streets around the Dome early for the late Sunday start. After getting worked in Game 2, and after the controversy at the end of the game that resulted in a Bob Hartley $50,000 fine, many wondered what the Flames had in store.

Turns out it was entire and total domination. The Calgary Flames throughout the year haven’t been a very good possession team, but tonight the controlled play from the get-go. 5v5 play was controlled by the Flames, and their relentless pressure lead to countless Canuck turnovers. If the Flames can keep up the pace this series is going to be over quick. They also need to stay out-of-the-box as the league’s second least penalized team are doubling their per game average of minor penalties.

Here’s an some post game thoughts:

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Welcome to the Playoffs! Calgary 2 – Vancouver 1: Series Calgary 1 – Vancouver 0

Well that’s how it feels, winning a playoff game. It’s been a while. So long fact that many of you are too young to remember it! Last week Calgary clinched a playoff position despite being only two years into a rebuild (eat your heart out of Edmonton). To make matters more exciting the first round playoff opponent was none other then the most hated franchise in all of pro sports, the Vancouver Canucks. The provincial rivalry is probably the best thing for NHL hockey in both cities given the history. Over Vancouver took always advantage by finishing with more points, Calgary owned the season series between the two teams.

Vancouver is on their last legs in terms of Cup runs, Calgary on the other hand has youthful exuberance. When you pit Delilah football team side-by-side you basically wind up with each hometown fan declaring their own team as superior. What we know for sure is this: both teams are closely matched which means this playoff series is slated for the long haul.

Usually when you start off a series in opposition territory, in the very least you want to walk away with one win. After tonight’s game Calgary has accomplish that. Here’s a post-game summary of why the Calgary Flames won:

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Think back to the beginning of October, a recent snow storm was fresh and the memory in the Calgary Flames were questionable to move past 12th place in the Western Conference. Nobody knew how a team with out any superstars were performed. Would Johnny Gaudreau be able to play against players nearly twice his size? Sean Monahan, the 20year old centre, have a sophomore jinx? With Jiri Hudler put up any points?

All the talk was how Edmonton was due for improvement, how Vancouver was going challenge for the Cup, and how LA was going to repeat their Stanley Cup performance. But after 81 games he only thing that matters is the points (not the wins, obviously in the 3 point loser system), and when you count the plates the Edmonton Oilers are losers, Vancouver barely got into the playoffs, and the Los Angeles Kings are out after tonight’s hard-fought loss against the Calgary Flames.

Yes, I’ll Calgary Flames have return to the Stanley Cup playoffs years earlier than anybody expected. Even with their captain of the lineup for 18 games now, the team has exceeded everybody’s expectations including the hometown fans. Now we get to watch them, only after year two of a REBUILD, make a run for the Stanely Cup.

And you know what? After their recent play, and the fact they look STRONGER as time goes by, they may have a chance to even knock off the Canucks.

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Down to the Wire: Flames Playoff Chances Real

The Calgary Flames bested the lowly Arizona Coyotes, as they should have, although it was a nailbiter until the end. Leading the way was the top line. Sean Monahan continue to impress notching us 31st goal of the year. Johnny Gaudrean opened the scoring in the first, with Monahan scoring the eventual game-winner late in the third.

Here’s what you need to know about the Flames’ chances to make this year’s playoffs. The magic number is one. That’s a single win in the final two, or a single LA loss in the final. Calgary holds their own destiny as they played both Winnipeg and Los Angeles in the final two games. A team that was slated to come 11th or 12th by most pundits is now looking at a possible home ice advantage by reaching second in the Pacific Division. Win both games and it’s home ice advantage.

Who would’ve thought about that at the beginning of the season? Even with questionable defensive pairings, the loss of their captain, and little secondary scoring or bonafide all-star–this team has done a by committee.

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St Louis 4 – Calgary 1 : Road to Playoffs a Nail Biter

Is it just me or are the St. Louis Blues the worst team in the NHL when it comes to clutch, grab, and slash? I guess when you’re one of the top teams in the league you can get away with anything.

Today’s game would’ve been nice a win and would have solidified Calgary’s playoff push. But the legacy of GM Brad Treliving consists of three players: Jonas Hiller, Deryk Engelland, and Brandon Bollig. Jonas Hiller hopefully he committed his last error. Keep your fingers crossed that Kari Ramo can take a team the rest of the way. Hiller is notorious for letting in very weak goals and at this time of year that’s inexcusable. Brandon Bollig got punched in the face a few times for his stupid penalty, a 5 minute boarding call in the first period.

Ya, Jackman is an idiot for putting his face I guess the glass and back to the play, but Bollig should set the rest of the games with such a boneheaded play. These two mistakes at this time of year are not what the team needs.

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Flames Take Four Points in Back to Back vs Dallas and Nashville

The playoffs are one step closer after Calgary took four points in their most recent back-to-back road games vs Nashville and Dallas. Last night, the Flames scored 5 goals, including two from Lance Bouma (hate to see what his contract year will cost…) Calgary got the benefit of playing a Shea Weber less Predator team. Also, facing the backup goalie helps. That’s not to diminish the win against the league’s best.

In the, “every game is the biggest game of the season,” reality Calgary didn’t have any time to revel in the victory. Coming into Dallas tonight, and riding Jonas Hiller in back-to-back games, (which was surprising given the play of Ramo as of late), the teams went down early off a goal on the first shot. Luckily Hiller shut the door after that.

Why did the Flames win?

That and a combination of 1st line scoring.

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Squandering Points; Flames 3 – Stars 4 (SO)

With only 9 games remaining in the season the young Calgary Flames team dropped more points against a non-playoff contending team. Surprisingly at this point in the season the team appeared ill-prepared. With one of the top PKs in the league, largely because they don’t take penalties, tonight was different. Although there were no goals on the man advantage, there were seven shorthanded opportunities for Dallas. Some fans on Twitter were complaining about the officiating. All of Calgary’s calls were definitely penalties. They certainly were soft for the Dallas Stars, but this one is on Calgary’s discipline.

If you want to be a playoff team then you need to play your best hockey at the end of the season. Dallas is playing very well although they won’t make it this year. The Flames matched a much improved Stars team, and had more chances, but coming with one point is probably exactly what the team played for after the 65 minutes plus shootout.

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Flames Pancaked vs Blues

Calgary 0 – St Louis 4

Calgary doesn’t really play games where the goalies steal shutouts. There were a few odd games early in the season where Hiller stole some points, but since then, not much happening. You don’t win games if you can’t score, and surprisingly Calgary is almost top ten in the league when it comes to scoring. Surprising because when the Flames can’t score, and when they are clearly outmatched and outclasses, they look really bad.

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