Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) - A thrilling third-period comeback? Just business as usual for the Cardiac Kids.
Kris Russell scored his first career playoff goal with 29.6 seconds left to lift the Flames to a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday.
With time winding down, Russell accepted a pass from Dennis Wideman across the blue line, moved in from the left point and sent a low slapper around a diving defender and through traffic past a screened Eddie Lack for the deciding marker.
"I had a lane and the guys did such a good job of getting in (Lack's) way," Russell said.
David Jones tied the game just shy of the eight-minute mark of the final stanza and Jonas Hiller was solid in net, making 29 saves in Calgary's first playoff appearance since 2009.
The Flames are used to making late comebacks, having won 10 regular-season games when trailing after 40 minutes of play.
"It feels like nothing rattles us," Flames head coach Bob Hartley said. "In the third period, we could feel it on the bench ... As soon as Jones scored, I felt that we had another gear."
Rookie Bo Horvat provided Vancouver's lone tally and Eddie Lack, starting in place of veteran Ryan Miller, stopped 28 shots as the Canucks returned to the postseason after last year's absence.
"We made a couple choices that weren't great," Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins said. "We didn't generate as much in the last 10 minutes as we wanted."
The two teams will resume play in Game 2 at Rogers Arena on Friday.
Horvat opened the scoring for the Canucks with 7:52 remaining in the second period. He fired a shot through a maze of players from the top of the right circle, followed up his shot and backhanded the rebound off Wideman's skate and through Lack's pads.
The fast-paced play continued early in the third. Wideman took a slick backhanded pass from Jiri Hudler and slapped a shot that Lack turned aside. The Canucks gathered the rebound and raced up ice. Daniel Sedin received the puck and fired a shot in close, but Hiller threw out his pad to keep it a one- goal game.
Jones put Calgary on the board 7:59 into the final frame after taking a backhanded pass from Michael Ferland and wristing a quick shot from the high slot before Lack was set to tie the game.
Neither team was able to light the lamp during a back-and-forth opening stanza. Hiller turned aside 13 shots, including Horvat's bid in tight and Radim Vrbata with a diving stop at the horn. Lack was up to the task on the other end, turning aside 10 Calgary shots.
Russell's goal was the latest game-winning goal in a period in Flames' playoff history, breaking the previous record set by Joel Otto at 19:21 of overtime in Game 7 of the Smythe Division semifinals against Vancouver on Apr. 15, 1989 ... Hartley won his 50th playoff game ... Calgary rookie Sam Bennett recorded an assist on the final tally in just his second career game ... The two teams are meeting in the playoffs for the seventh time and are facing each other for the first time since the Flames topped the Canucks in seven games during the 2004 Western quarterfinals.