Tag: Brandon McMillan

Johnny Gaudreau

One more time, with feeling: Flames stage yet another comeback, eliminate Vancouver


The Calgary Flames made a name for themselves this season with their third-period comebacks.

So it was fitting, then, that they won their first playoff series in 11 years in that very fashion.

Calgary beat Vancouver 7-4 on Saturday in Game 6 of their opening-round matchup, winning the series four games to two. The dramatic, come-from-behind win came after the Flames erased the Canucks’ 3-0 first-period lead, then rallied again in the third, much to the delight of a delirious Saddledome crowd.

“What a comeback, look at this crowd,” Flames head coach Bob Hartley said afterward. “We’re a big team, 20 [players] on the bench, but this crowd is unbelievable and those guys are just amazing.”

The series was bookended by comebacks. Calgary also won Game 1 courtesy a third-period rally, scoring the deciding marker with 30 seconds left.

Tonight’s heroics happened a bit earlier than in Game 1, though not by much. Matt Stajan scored the game-winner with under five minutes left, snapping home a wrister above the shoulder of Ryan Miller:

Stajan’s goal came after Jiri Hudler evened the score at four early in the frame, capitalizing on the power play after an interference call on Canucks forward Brandon McMillan.

Prior to Calgary’s third-period magic, the game was a dramatic affair. Vancouver looked to be in cruise control in the first after scoring three goals in just over seven minutes, but the Flames quickly replied with three goals of their own, including two in under five minutes from Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau early in the second period.

Shortly after the Flames tied things up, Luca Sbisa scored his first goal of the playoffs to give Vancouver a 4-3 edge, which it’d carry into the third — paving the way for Stajan to become the man of the night.

“We’ve worked so hard all year,” Stajan said after the game. “To come back like we have all year, it feels so good. We deserve it. We never back down. We’ll enjoy this, but we don’t want to stop. We want to keep going now.”

“We just felt in our room that we were going to come back. We found a way. That’s what we’ve done all year.”

As mentioned above, the win moves Calgary into the second round for the first time since 2004 — the same year they made it all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, before losing to Tampa Bay. The Flames will now take on Anaheim in Round 2.

As for the Canucks, losing the series — and the way they lost — has to be viewed as a major disappointment. While the club did well to bounce-back from last year’s disastrous campaign and make the playoffs, Vancouver failed to win a game on the road, saw its second-ranked penalty kill surrender five power-play goals over the series and lacked the killer instinct to put Calgary away in Games 1 and 6.

“The first couple of games, I felt we could’ve taken both at home,” a dejected Henrik Sedin said afterward. “[But] they came home tied 1-1.”

Of course, the Flames would argue they’re just not the kind of team you just put away.

Comebacks are kind of their thing.


Karri Ramo replaced Jonas Hiller in the first period and fared well, stopping 17 of 19 shots… Miller finished with 26 saves on 31 shots… The Flames potted a pair of empty-net goals, which inflated their stat totals a bit, but still got great production from Stajan, Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, David Jones, Michael Ferland (three points each) and Jiri Hudler, who finished with four…Jannik Hansen led all Canuck scorers with two points; Vancouver got points from 10 different skaters.

Video: Canucks score three in 7:06 to take commanding lead in Calgary

Vancouver Canucks v Calgary Flames - Game Four

Through five games of its series with the Flames, the Canucks never scored more than two goals in a single period.

On Saturday night, they picked a good time to do it.

Vancouver scored three times in just over seven minutes in the first period of Game 6, jumping out to a crucial lead as it tries to fight off elimination for a second straight game.

Brandon McMillan scored his first as a Canuck — in just his second playoff game with the team — at the 2:36 mark, then Jannik Hansen scored shorthanded just over five minutes later to make it 2-0.

Then, the trio that often carried Vancouver this season — Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Radim Vrbata — connected in style, with Vrbata netting his second goal of the series to put the Canucks up by three.

Calgary was able to claw one back with just under three minutes in the period, as Michael Ferland scored following a 2-on-1 with Matt Stajan.

On the brink: Flames silence Canucks, take 3-1 series lead

Jiri Hudler, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Dennis Wideman

The Calgary Flames haven’t won a playoff round since 2004 — the year they last went to the Stanley Cup final.

Now, they’re just one victory away from moving on.

Calgary pushed Vancouver to the edge of elimination on Wednesday night, scoring a 3-1 win at the Saddledome to take a commanding three games to one lead in the opening-round series. Jiri Hudler’s first-period tally proved to be the decisive goal as the Flames did all their damage in the opening frame — three goals on seven shots, chasing Canucks goalie Eddie Lack in the process — before shutting down the Canucks over the final 40 minutes of action.

For Vancouver, it was a forgettable evening.

After losing veteran winger Alex Burrows (broken rib) in the morning skate, the club also dropped banged-up forward Brad Richardson from the lineup, giving Linden Vey and Brandon McMillan their series debuts. Both were largely ineffective, though hardly to blame for what was an erratic effort — and a second period in which the Canucks put just three shots on goal.

Vancouver’s vaunted penalty kill, which finished second in the NHL (85.7 percent) during the regular season, failed to silence Calgary’s big guns as Johnny Gaudreau and Hudler both scored with the man advantage in the first period. All told, the Flames now have four power play goals through four games.

And while Calgary wasn’t as aggressive as it was in Game 3 — the Flames out-hit Vancouver 33-18 — there was still a noticeable physical edge on Tuesday night as the Flames had 29 hits to Vancouver’s 18. Michael Ferland continued to wreak havoc on the forecheck while 18-year-old Sam Bennett, playing in just his fifth NHL game, continued to provide a valuable net-front presence and scored his second goal of the series with under a minute left in the first period.

“It’s his grit. Eighteen years old and playing in the NHL playoffs with so much character,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said of Bennett. “It’s pretty amazing. He went to the net and the hockey gods rewarded him.

“What he brings, his determination, his grist, his passion, that’s what you need in the playoffs. This kid is full of character.”

Henrik Sedin scored his first goal — and Vancouver’s lone goal — on the power play midway through the opening frame. It was just the Canucks’ second goal on the man advantage this series.

The Canucks actually dominated possession at even strength. It was translating that possession into scoring chances where they struggled, as the Flames blocked 29 shots on the night.

“They’re collapsing quite a bit,” said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins. “I think we’ve got to use our points. They collapse and they’re just making it hard to get to the net.”

With Game 4 now in the books, the two teams will meet again on Thursday at Rogers Arena and, by then, will be pretty well versed in 3-1 series leads. According to WhoWins.com, teams that go up 3-1 win the series 91 percent of the time… with 56 percent of those decided in Game 5.


Miller made his Canucks playoff debut and performed well, stopping all 15 shots faced in his first game action since a 6-5 OT win over Edmonton in the season finale… Jonas Hiller stopped 27 of 28 shots and has now allowed just seven goals in this series… Hudler and Dennis Wideman led the Flames with two points each.

Leafs claim Erixon, Ducks waive Bourque

Chicago Blackhawks v Colorado Avalanche

With the 2015 trade deadline rapidly approaching, it’s no surprise that NHL teams are using waivers to open up space (and occasionally grab low-risk players). Let’s take a quick look at recent announcements in that regard.

Claimed: The Toronto Maple Leafs claimed defenseman Tim Erixon (pictured) off of waivers. The Calgary Flames grabbed Dave Schlemko.

A little more on Erixon:

Here’s some added perspective on why the Flames made their move:

Cleared: Philadelphia Flyers goalie Rob Zepp, Washington Capitals tough guy Aaron Volpatti and Brandon McMillan of the Vancouver Canucks all cleared waivers.

Waived: Anaheim Ducks forward Rene Bourque headlines the latest batch of players who’ve been waived. Also on the list: Craig Cunningham (Boston Bruins), Keith Aulie (Edmonton Oilers), Paul Carey (Colorado Avalanche) and Tye McGinn (San Jose Sharks).

HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman lays out a few roster details after the trade deadline:

Five on waivers as trade deadline looms

Rob Zepp

With the trade deadline just around the corner, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Rob Zepp, Dallas Stars defenseman David Schlemko, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Tim Erixon, Vancouver Canucks forward Brandon McMillan, and Washington Capitals forward Aaron Volpatti have all been placed on waivers, per TVA Sports Renaud Lavoie.

This is one case where the teams that are putting players on waivers is as noteworthy as the players themselves as some of them might not end up in the minors. However, by going this route, teams are gaining some extra roster flexibility should it be needed before the 3:00 p.m. ET trade deadline.

Zepp, 33, has a 5-2-0 record, 2.89 GAA, and .888 save percentage in 10 games this season. He comes with a $600,000 annual cap hit at the NHL level and his presence on this list means that there’s a rental backup goaltender available outside of the trade market should any team be interested.

Schlemko, 27, has a goal and four points in 25 games this season with Arizona and Dallas. He’s already been claimed once this season back on Jan. 3, but the Stars have barely used him since that date.

Erixon, 24, has a goal and six points in 27 games this season. In addition to Chicago, he’s also played for the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers. He’s a former first round pick (24th overall, 2009) and was involved in the Jackets-Rangers Rick Nash trade back in 2012. It’s worth noting that Chicago added defenseman Kimmo Timonen on Friday.

McMillan, 24, has a goal and three points in 53 contests with Arizona and Vancouver in 2014-15. He’s a native of British Columbia and was claimed off of waivers by the Canucks on Feb. 12.

Volpatti, 29, has missed most of the season due to a neck injury. That being said, he’s been used sparingly since his return as he’s only played with Washington on Feb. 3 and Feb. 14 this season.