Sports

Canucks stay alive, series shifts back to Calgary

Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) - The Canucks played at a breakneck pace with their season on the line and extended their first-round Western Conference series against the Calgary Flames with a 2-1 victory on Thursday.

Vancouver was facing a 3-1 series deficit and trailed in Game 5 before goals by Nick Bonino and Daniel Sedin forced the series back to Calgary.

Ryan Miller made 20 saves in the must-win game. Miller, still somewhat recovering from a knee injury, earned his first starting nod of the series following a flawless relief effort of an ineffective Eddie Lack in Game 4.

David Jones scored Calgary's only goal and Jonas Hiller kept the Flames in it with 41 saves. Hiller will need a similar performance on Saturday back at the Saddledome if the Flames hope to win their first playoff series in 11 years.

"We knew they weren't going to go away easily," Hiller said. "I think we have proven we can step up and get better."

The Canucks trailed 1-0 at the end of the first period despite peppering Hiller with 17 shots. Jannik Hansen rung one off the post midway through the period, and Radim Vrbata was denied on the doorstep during a late power play.

Pucks kept bouncing Calgary's way when Mason Raymond lost control during a breakaway early in the second, but Vancouver's constant pressure finally paid off with 6:29 remaining in the middle period.

"We showed what we can do tonight," Bonino said. "We played well offensively all game."

Bonino won a battle for the puck along the boards, then played a give-and-go with Vrbata, whose pass from behind the net was one-timed by Bonino into the far side to even things.

The deciding goal came 1:47 into the third period after Henrik Sedin won a faceoff in the offensive zone. Dan Hamhuis sent in a shot from an odd angle, and Daniel Sedin knocked in the rebound between Hiller's pads.

"We kept getting after it and it paid off in the end," Daniel Sedin said. "We kept calm and made plays."

Vancouver killed off two penalties later in the third and survived a 6-on-5 in the final minute to extend the series.

An early giveaway led to the Flames' goal just 2:40 into the game. Matt Stajan forced a turnover that Jones grabbed in mid-air, and Jones, by himself between the circles, dropped the puck onto his stick and beat Miller with a wrister.

Game Notes

The Flames are trying to advance past the first round for the first time since reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004 ... The Canucks have come back from 3-1 deficits to win a series three times, including in 1994 against the Flames ... The Canucks announced they will be without forward Alex Burrows for the rest of the series. Burrows was taken to a Calgary-area hospital after leaving practice Tuesday morning with an unspecified upper-body issue the team deemed "nothing serious" ... Vancouver went 0-for-2 on the power play, while Calgary went 0-for-3.