In perhaps the best series of this year’s NHL playoff’s, the Flames and Hawks squared off for game four in Calgary. All eyes were on the teams on how they’d respond after the media hyped the end-game shenanigans that took place in game 3.
Mike Keenan was chirping for two days about the unpunished Adam Burrish hit on Bourque (two hand cross check to the face). He stated Bourque was day to day, nobody believed him, the league did nothing, and guess what, Bourque didn’t play.
Would that factor into Calgary’s on ice performance? Not really, although there were some tense second period moments.
Nystrom with Epic 3 Point Performance
Much like game one, Calgary came out with a moderate effort yet Chicago scored first. No huge hits or after whistle problems, but Patrick Kane–on the top line–potted his first 4 minutes in.
Thankfully, get this, the powerplay for Calgary responded a minute and half later. Jarome Iginla wired a low shortside shot past Kahbibulin, who the Flames have cracked after putting 5 past him tonight.
That was all the scoring for the first period, yet the hits were ferocious and the fans put in a better showing compared to game 3.
The second period was where the excitement kicked in. Oli Jokinen, mostly a non factor this series, picked him game up in Game 3. He carried it forward tonight and was +4 with three points. He started the scoring in the second with less than a minute in. Before the period was half way done Jokinen scored again and assisted on Aucoin’s seeing eye shot to give the Flames a 4-1 lead.
Nystrom had a huge game, big hits, killing penalties, and collecting 3 points. Big ups to him. Not to be outdone, Jarome Iginla carried on awakened from his sleeping state after Game three with a three point night of his own.
However, the scoring wasn’t over yet. Chicago answered back in the second half of period two with three goals of their own. The Calgary crowd was stunned, the 3rd line of Chicago contributed for all the goals and it translated into a tied game going into the third.
Fans were on the edge of their seat for the final frame–a nail biter that could have gone either way. A bogus penalty on Todd Bertuzzi gave momentum to Chicago but Calgary stood tall.
13 minutes in after Calgary reasserted themselves on the forecheck managed to sustain enough pressure to get Sarich alone on the point firing a shot on goal. THe rebound bounced to Nystrom in the slot and he slid home his second of the season for the eventual game winner.
The goal was controversial as it appeared the Langkow handpassed the puck to Nystrom, yet, no whistle was blown. Jarome Iginla scored his second into an empty net as Calgary held the fort in the latter stage of the game.
No antics tonight, just tough hockey which had Calgary with the edge. If the Flames put in a similar effort they’ll take on in Chicago and potentially take the series in 6. But as of now, one game at a time…. GO FLAMES GO!
Notes: The series moves back to Chicago Saturday and is now a best of 3. Calgary only needs to win one on the road at this point. No word on Craig Conroy who left the game after the first period. Rene Bourque should be in for Saturday.
Big ups to David Moss for some huge hits tonight. Miikka Kirpsuoff was average screened on most goals.