Flames scorch Canucks late in Game 6 to advance
Calgary, AB (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Stajan's first career playoff goal was momentous, helping the Flames advance in the postseason for the first time in 11 years.
Stajan gave Calgary its first lead of the game with 4:17 left in regulation and the Flames held on for a 7-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinals on Saturday.
After Michael Ferland fanned on a rebound in front, Stajan tracked down the loose puck and wristed a well-placed shot over Ryan Miller's shoulder to put the Flames ahead 5-4.
Vancouver pulled Miller with over a minute to play and had a quality chance after Henrik Sedin barreled in on net, but Karri Ramo batted the puck away with his stick.
Jiri Hudler and Ferland each scored on the vacated cage to seal the win.
Hudler tallied two goals and two assists, Ferland supplied two goals and a helper and Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Stajan each chipped in with a goal and two assists for the Flames, who will face the Anaheim Ducks in the next round.
"When you coach a group of athletes that believe, you get crazy games like this one," Calgary head coach Bob Hartley said. "The crowd never left us. We were down three zip and we still felt their support. What a great story."
Jonas Hiller was pulled after allowing two goals on three shots a little over seven minutes into the game, but Ramo stopped 17 shots in relief to help Calgary advance to the second round for the first time since a seven-game win over Vancouver in 2004.
Jannik Hansen finished with a goal and an assist and Luca Sbisa, Radim Vrbata and Brandon McMillan all lit the lamp for the Canucks, who had Miller give up five goals on 31 shots.
"They scored on their chances tonight, and we scored on ours," Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins said. "You have to give them credit they found ways all year, and they found a way tonight. I'm proud of our guys and it just didn't go tonight."
Trailing 3-0, Ferland got Calgary on the board with 2:58 remaining in the first period. David Jones forced a turnover in the neutral zone and Stajan backhanded a cross-ice pass to Ferland, who tapped the puck past Miller.
Calgary got within 3-2 just 1:02 into the middle stanza after Dennis Wideman fired a shot on net following a faceoff win and Monahan backhanded home the rebound.
Four minutes later, Hudler gathered a dump-in from along the right-wing boards and sent the puck to the crease, where Gaudreau wristed it past Miller for a tie game.
Sbisa skated to the top of the left circle and fired a shot through a maze of players to give Vancouver a 4-3 lead midway through the second.
The Flames tied the game at 6:14 of the third. On the man advantage, Monahan intercepted Gaudreau's shot from the right point and tapped it down low to Hudler, who beat Miller with a quick shot from the side of the net.
McMillan opened the scoring for Vancouver 2:36 into the game. After Chris Higgins' heavy slapper was stopped by Hiller, McMillan gathered the rebound in the slot and wristed a shot into the net.
Hansen added to Vancouver's lead five minutes later. He entered the zone up the left side, drifted across the slot and used a screen in front to fire a wrister into the top left corner of the net, chasing Hiller from the game.
The Canucks continued the first-period onslaught at 9:42. Daniel Sedin floated a shot through the slot, where a driving Vrbata tipped the puck past Ramo for a power-play goal and a 3-0 advantage.
Wideman played in his 50th career playoff game ... Jones tallied three assists ... The Canucks lost their fifth straight road playoff game ... Sbisa notched his first career playoff goal ... Vancouver's three goals in the opening 9:42 are the fastest three goals to begin a playoff game in franchise history ... The last two times these teams met in the playoffs, the winner of the series went on to play in the Stanley Cup Final.