Calgary Flames Matt Stajan (18) celebrates his game-winning goal with teammates during third period NHL first round game six playoff hockey action against the Vancouver Canucks in Calgary

Calgary Flames Matt Stajan (18) celebrates his game-winning goal with teammates during third period NHL first round game six playoff hockey action against the Vancouver Canucks in Calgary

Flames advance to second round of playoffs

Flames advance to second round of playoffs with 7-4 comeback win over Canucks

By Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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. Ryan Miller made 28 saves in the loss.

“When you coach a group of athletes that believe you get crazy games like this one,” Flames head coach Bob Hartley said. “The crowd never left us. We were down three-zip and we felt their support. What a great story.”

Calgary’s top line of Monahan with Hudler and Gaudreau on his wings had produced three power-play goals in the first five games of the series, but stepped up their games Saturday.

They produced their first even-strength goals with a pair in the second period to tie the game 3-3 and added another power-play goal in the third to even up again at 4-4.

“Obviously you guys have been all over us for not producing, so maybe we were just sick of that,” Monahan told reporters.

But it was Calgary’s fourth line of Stajan, Ferland and David Jones producing the winner with a siege on Miller in the third. The Vancouver goalie made an initial save on Ferland, but Stajan banged in the rebound.

Vancouver was the pre-series favourite with vastly more post-season experience than Calgary, who hadn’t made the playoffs in six years.

The Flames were also without captain Mark Giordano, who underwent surgery on a torn bicep with six weeks remaining in the regular season.

Calgary opened with a 2-1 win in Vancouver to come home with a split. The Flames won back-to-back at home before falling 2-1 in Game 5 at Rogers Arena.

“You have to give them credit,” said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins. “They found ways all year and they found a way again tonight. I’m proud of our guys. One hundred and one points this year was a good run.”

Notes — Flames D Dennis Wideman appeared in his 50th career playoff game . . . Calgary scored in the second period for the first time in the series on goals from Monahan and Gaudreau . . . The completed Calgary-Vancouver series, and St. Louis versus Minnesota, still in progress, are the only series of the first round without an overtime game.

Just Posted

The City of Cranbrook and the Ktunaxa Nation raised the flag of the Ktunaxa Nation at the arches entrance into the city’s downtown core during a ceremony on Monday, June 21. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Ktunaxa Nation flag raised at downtown arches entrance

The Ktunaxa Nation flag was raised at the Cranbrook arches — the… Continue reading

Kimberley Search and Rescue were able to quickly respond to a call for service and transport an injured mountain biker to East Kootenay Regional Hospital over the weekend. Kimberley SAR file photo.
Kimberley Search and Rescue respond to injured mountain biker on Bootleg Mountain

Kimberley Search and Rescue responded to a call for service this past… Continue reading

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation to host flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Corey Bullock file)
City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation hosting flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day

A temporary road closure and speed limit reduction will be in effect during the ceremony

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read