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Five Takeaways: Game 2

by Jason Johnson / Calgary Flames



VANCOUVER, BC -- There's nothing like a good ole fashioned donnybrook to renew a rivalry.

That's exactly what happened last night when things got heated in the tail end of Friday's tilt after a play stoppage with 1:17 left in the final frame.

The aftermath resulted in the two teams combining for 122 penalty minutes. Deryk Engelland was responsible for 42 of those being assessed three game misconducts, two fighting majors and an instigator infraction.

What did you expect?

With the game out of reach for Calgary, one could just sense the frustration amongst Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley's soldiers. Michael Ferland had been a pain in Vancouver's rear all game long -- again -- and with him, Brandon Bollig, Derek Dorsett and Brad Richardson all skating down the final minutes it was no surprise something brewed.

Emotions are running high when Matt Stajan gets tagged with a fighting major for just the third time since Feb. 5, 2008.

It was that type of game and now with the series shifting to Calgary on Sunday for Game 3 -- the first playoff action for Flames' fans in six seasons -- the intrigue has been amped up.

While the NHL sorts through the mess of infractions, suspensions are only speculated at this point.

TAKEAWAY ONE:

If you told Hartley & Co. before the series started they would be coming out of Vancouver with a split, they would be satisfied. Although it was all Canucks last night, the Flames still showed character and grit right up to the final buzzer.

Despite the setback, Stajan likes the position the Flames are in.

“I think we know in here we need to play better," said Stajan, who racked up a season- high 15 minutes in penalties. "It’s the playoffs. I think they took it to us. We’ve got to learn from it. It’s a best-of-five now. We have home ice. We’ve got to take advantage.”

The Flames -- like they've done all season -- have the ability to bury this loss and move on to the next game.

TAKEAWAY TWO:

This team sticks together.

One of the key factors in Calgary's success this season has been the ability to play as a team and not back down from anyone or anything. This team has each others backs and that was evident Friday.

"We have each others back, we're a team, we have each others backs and we stick up for each other," Bollig said after the game. "Sure, we were lucky enough to have a couple pretty tough guys out there so we were fortunate in that sense," Bollig said. "We played a tough game, we're a hard working team, us guys who are out there know how to handle ourselves. We got in a scrum, it escalated, and none of our guys are going to back down."

Both Ferland and Bollig are on the same page.

"I'll do whatever I can for these guys, I'll stick up for my teammates," Ferland said. "My job is to give them hard minutes. I want them to know when I'm out there."

TAKEAWAY THREE:

Hartley just wants to move on.

The Flames coach isn't interested in making this more than what it is -- or what it was. In his post-game address following the loss, Hartley downplayed the late game shenanigans and was all about moving forward.

"I don't think it was about sending a message it was about two teams competing and they have some gritty guys on their team and we have some gritty guys on our team. That's no big deal," Hartley said.

Calgary will take to the ice Saturday for an optional skate at Scotiabank Saddledome in preparation for Game 2 on Sunday.

TAKEAWAY FOUR:

There's no question the Flames miss Lance Bouma. It's not just the unexpected offence he brought to the table, either. Bouma's ability to block shots, physical presence and gritty style make him the type of player needed to win in today's NHL.

It's unclear how long Bouma will be sidelined for but Ferland and stepped into his role in an almost seamless transition.

The 21-year-old has a reputation for being a tenacious player but his credited 10 hits and 14 penalty minutes have helped set the tone for the series and added that element for the absent Bouma.

"Ferly keeps progressing. He's playing a strong game for us, he's a physical player, goes at the net well," Hartley said. "I'm pretty pleased with his game."

TAKEAWAY FIVE:

TJ Brodie is finding his groove.

One of Calgary's best blueliners all season, Brodie looked to have struggled a bit when his partner Mark Giordano's season came to end. Although Engelland has stepped up in the Flames' captain's absence, it took Brodie a while to get acquainted to his new partner.

Last night, Brodie looked like he did earlier in the season. He jumped up into the play several times and created some offensive opportunities. The Flames are going to need that from him if they want to move on into the second round.

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