Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Bennett Lifts Calgary to 4-2 Win over Vancouver with First NHL Goal

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Bennett Lifts Calgary to 4-2 Win over Vancouver with First NHL Goal

Article excerpt

Flames down Canucks 4-2, take 2-1 series lead


CALGARY - Flames winger Sam Bennett is living up to his billing in his first few days as an NHL player.

His first career goal stood up as the game-winner in Calgary's 4-2 playoff win over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Calgary took a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference quarter-final series with Game 4 back at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday.

The best-of-seven series returns to Vancouver for Game 5 on Thursday.

Bennett scrambled to the net to slip a rebound past Vancouver goaltender Eddie Lack and give Calgary a 3-1 lead at 2:14 of the third period.

"It's a moment I've thought about for a very long time," the 18-year-old said. "I've been told to drive the net so that's what I'm going to do."

According to the NHL, he's the youngest Flame to ever score a game-winning goal in the post-season.

Flames defenceman T.J. Brodie contributed a goal and an assist, with 20-year-old centre Sean Monahan collecting his first-career playoff goal and Brandon Bollig scoring for the first time since Feb. 2.

Goaltender Jonas Hiller made 23 saves for the Flames, who were hosts of an NHL playoff game for the first time since April 27, 2009.

The Saddledome began chanting "Go Flames Go" several minutes before the opening faceoff, which Flames head coach Bob Hartley said the team could hear in their dressing room.

Shawn Matthias and Jannick Hansen countered for the Canucks, with Lack stopping 24 shots in the loss.

Bennett recorded an assist in his NHL debut in Calgary's regular-season finale. The fourth overall pick in last year's NHL draft was a speedy, scrappy presence for the Flames in their first two games of the series in Vancouver.

With a ferocious forecheck and screens in front of Lack, he and linemate Joe Colborne created time and space for Brodie to tee up a slapshot from inside the blue-line and give Calgary a 2-1 lead after one period Sunday.

Colborne also had a hand in Bennett's goal with a sharp-angled shot that Lack couldn't corral. It was Bennett's first game at the Saddledome since a pre-season game Oct. 2.

"Sammy, you should have seen the smile on this kid's face on the bench after his first goal," Hartley said. …

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