Flames down Canucks to clinch series victory
Calgary will face Anaheim in the 2nd round
The Calgary Flames came from behind twice in a 7-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday and advanced to the second round of NHL playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
The Flames took the series 4-2. Calgary will face the Anaheim Ducks in a best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal.
Matt Stajan scored the game winner at 15:43 of the third period in Game 6 of the series.
"Things happen so quickly out there and even when I go home, I'll probably blink my eyes and still have to pinch myself to realize what happened," said Stajan. "That's why we play the games. This is a special moment."
"I'm just happy it didn't go to overtime and we found a way here."
Jiri Hudler and Michael Ferland each had a pair of goals including empty-netters in front of a delirious Scotiabank Saddledome. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan also scored for Calgary.
The Flames last advanced beyond the opening round in 2004 when they reached the Stanley Cup final and lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"You have to give them credit," said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins. "They found ways all year and they found a way again tonight. I'm proud of our guys. One hundred and one points this year was a good run."
Flames starter Jonas Hiller was pulled early in the first after allowing two goals on three shots. Karri Ramo stopped 21-of-22 shots for the win.
Luca Sbisa, Brandon McMillan, Jannik Hansen and Radim Vrbata scored for the Canucks, who led 3-0 early in the first period and 4-3 midway through the second. Ryan Miller made 28 saves in the loss.
"We looked at this game as a must-win on home ice," said Monahan. "We could knock them out and move onto the second round. We were still excited on the bench being down three-nothing. We did whatever we could to push back and we found a way."
Calgary's fourth line of Stajan, Ferland and David Jones produced the winner with a siege on Miller in the third. The Vancouver goalie made an initial save on Ferland, but Stajan banged in the rebound.
The hosts stumbled out of the gate, however, as the Canucks rattled off three unanswered goals on their first four shots. Hiller was replaced by Ramo after Vancouver's second goal at 7:32 and Ramo gave up a goal on the first shot he faced.
Calgary scored late in the first and twice early in the second to revive the Saddledome, but Sbisa restored Vancouver's lead at 10:36.
"What about the crowd? The crowd never left us. We were down three-zip and we felt their support. What a great story," said Flames coach Bob Hartley.