Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Flames Advance to Second Round of Playoffs with 7-4 Comeback Win over Canucks

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Flames Advance to Second Round of Playoffs with 7-4 Comeback Win over Canucks

Article excerpt

Flames advance to second round of playoffs

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CALGARY - A season of many improbable comebacks gave the Calgary Flames the confidence to pull off their biggest one yet.

The Flames came from behind twice in a 7-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Calgary advanced to the second round of NHL playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

Calgary meets the Anaheim Ducks in a best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal after eliminating the Canucks four games to two in the opening round.

Matt Stajan's goal at 15:43 of the third period stood up as the winner. Jiri Hudler and Michael Ferland added empty-net goals to ensure there wouldn't be a Game 7 in Vancouver on Monday.

"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. To eliminate team like that is not easy."

Hudler and Ferland each contributed a goal in addition to their empty-netters. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan also scored for Calgary in front a Scotiabank Saddledome that was delirious by the third period.

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.

Calgary earned 24 of 97 points this season when trailing after two periods. They'd had enough dress rehearsals in comeback wins to know they could do it again when the stakes were high.

"We're not a team that's going to give up or quit," Monahan said. "We want to step up and want to be that team that teams look at and say 'these guys are hard to play against.'"

But the hosts stumbled out of the start gates Saturday as the Canucks rattled off three unanswered goals on their first four shots.

Calgary starter Jonas Hiller was replaced by Karri Ramo at 7:32 of the first period after giving up two goals on three shots. Ramo allowed a goal on the first shot he faced, but stopped 17 of 19 shots to earn the win.

Luca Sbisa, Brandon McMillan, Jannik Hansen and Radim Vrbata scored for the Canucks, who led 3-0 within 10 minutes of puck drop and again 4-3 midway through the second period. …

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