“I knew they’re not just going to give their game away and go on vacation. We knew they would be coming. I knew I would face a few shots. I thought I was able to stop quite a few good ones early and help the team to stay in it, but you can’t just sit back and wait to get scored on.”
That’s Jonas Hiller, goaltender for the Calgary Flames, aptly describing Game 5 between his team and the Vancouver Canucks to The Calgary Sun.
Coming into Thursday’s game, the Flames had the opportunity to end the Canucks season, and they just didn’t play like it. Calgary lacked the cliche “killer instinct” to stomp on the hearts of Vancouver in front of their home crowd, and lost 2-1.
The game started well for the Flames as they scored 2:25 into the first. Alexander Edler and Matt Stajan chopped at a puck sent up the boards, and David Jones caught it right in front of the Canucks goaltender. Jones set the puck down on the ice and fired a wrist shot past Ryan Miller.
And that’s about where the Flames lost their mojo.
The Canucks controlled a majority of the play, showering Hiller with 43 shots on goal. In comparison, Miller, selected as the starter to save Vancouver’s season, was met with only 21 shots.
Vancouver got on the board in the second when Nick Bonino sent a snipe top-shelf on his former teammate Hiller.
When the third period rolled around, it was time for some twin magic. Just 1:47 into the frame, Henrik Sedin won the face-off and got the puck to Dan Hamuis. Hamuis fired a rolling pass through traffic, and somehow Daniel Sedin buries it by Hiller.
The rest of the period was controlled by Vancouver. Even when Henrik was called for hooking child up past his bedtime Johnny Gaudreau with less than five minutes to go, the Flames just didn’t have their usual third period magic. The power play was unsuccessful and the Canucks have lived to play another game.
As for that other game, Mikael Backlund is old enough to know better than to create ‘bulletin board material’ for the Canucks. While talking to reporters in the post game, Backlund, 26, was frank, “There’s no way we’re losing at home.”
Sounds like a guarantee. They’d better hope the Flames from earlier in the series show up to make sure it happens.
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