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Calgary leads best-of-7 series 3-2
The Calgary Flames will try to close out their Western Conference First Round series against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 6 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.
“We're excited,” Flames defenceman Kris Russell said Friday. “Talking today with the guys, we're all excited about the opportunity we have tomorrow. Obviously, it's going to be a tough task. Winning the fourth game in any series is the toughest game to win. We know it's going to be a challenge. We know they're going to bring their best game. But we're excited to play in front of our fans, excited for the opportunity.”
Calgary, which was 6-1-2 in its final nine home games in the regular season, hasn’t made it out of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2004.
The Flames missed one opportunity to advance to face the Anaheim Ducks in the second round. The Canucks won 2-1 in Game 5 on Thursday in Vancouver to extend the series.
Though the Canucks have yet to win on the road in the series, they are optimistic they can again delay their elimination and force Game 7 in Vancouver on Monday.
"We're pretty confident,” Canucks forward Nick Bonino said. “I think you have to be in the playoffs. You never want to doubt yourself, but we've been here before. We went into Calgary and didn't play too well, so I think our mindset's a little different going there. We know we don't have any room for error and we've got to play good.
"I think there's pressure on both teams now. Obviously, if we lose we're out, and on them they've got a chance to finish it off in their building and they're going to feel that a little bit. I think both teams are dealing with it, but we're feeling pretty good; we're feeling better than we were a few games ago.”
The Flames won Games 3 and 4 at home, outscoring the Canucks 7-3.
“We have to come out and we have to play well, right from the puck drop,” Russell said. “We have to make sure that we're throwing the body, getting pucks deep, making it hard on them, limiting their time and space. I feel like, especially their top guys, had a little too much room to work and make plays [in Game 5], so we have to be better at that.
“But I think as a young group, we're excited for the opportunity to play in front of our fans again. We're sure the Saddledome is going to be rocking, but with that, we have to make sure we're there to play when the puck drops.”