VANCOUVER — The Calgary Flames did it again.
After a regular season in which they staged 10 third-period comebacks for wins, the Flames conjured up similar magic in their series opener against Vancouver as Kris Russell scored with 30 seconds left for a 2-1 win.
“I think if you asked anyone (on the Flames) we’d rather have the lead and just win that way,” said Russell. “But we knew (trailing after two periods) that we’d been in a situation like that. We knew we had to earn it though. They’re not a team that’s going to roll over and just sit back. We had to be at our best.”
That they were.
With the victory, the Flames wrestled home-ice advantage away from the more experienced Canucks and scored their first playoff victory in six years.
As the final score and shot total — 30 a piece — suggest, this was a tightly-contested affair. Neither team scored in the opening period though Vancouver held an advantage in possession and pucks directed on goal, registering 13 to Calgary’s 10.
In period two, a rookie broke the deadlock.
Vancouver forward Bo Horvat scored his first-ever career playoff tally, directing a shot on goal that took a wicked deflection before settling past Jonas Hiller in the Calgary goal:
The Canucks would take that 1-0 lead into the third period — which, it could be argued, is just how Calgary wanted it.
After scoring 99 third-period goals during the regular season, Calgary scored two more in the final 13 minutes of tonight’s game. The first came courtesy David Jones, on a nice drop pass from Michael Ferland:
Calgary and Vancouver traded chances after that, and the game looked destined for overtime until Russell fired home with a half-minute remaining.
Hiller finished with 29 saves on the night, while Eddie Lack countered with 28 for the Canucks…Calgary rookie Sam Bennett, playing in just his second NHL game, recorded an assist on Russell’s game-winning goal… Speaking of, that goal was the latest game-winner in Flames franchise history, per Elias.