CALGARY, AB -- Ask the Vancouver Canucks and they’ll tell you the pressure lies squarely on the shoulders of the Calgary Flames.
Ask the Flames, and they’ll tell you the pressure is mounting on Vancouver heading into Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round series on Saturday (7 p.m. MT; CBC, SN960).
“I don't think we have any pressure on us,” centre Mikael Backlund said. “No one ever believed in us this year and we're one game away from going to the next round and they are one game away from their season being done. If you want to put pressure on someone I'd put it on them.”
The Flames feeling fine heading into Saturday’s skate, up 3-2 on the Canucks and, with the ability to clinch on Scotiabank Saddledome ice, are excited.
“I don’t think we’re feeling too much pressure right now,” Joe Colborne said. “It’s more excitement. Anytime your back is up against the wall and you’re going to lose one game and you’re done, that brings a certain amount of pressure. These are the NHL playoffs; there’s pressure every game.
“We’re excited. We’ve been playing very well at home here. We feel real confident in our abilities. We’re excited that we stole that one game in Vancouver and gave ourselves the opportunity to come and clinch here.”
There’s reason for the home side to show optimism heading into Game 6, their second shot at clinching their first series win since losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final in 2004.
In the two contests in Calgary’s rink, Game 3 and 4, the Flames have outscored Vancouver 7-3 and, dating back to the regular season, haven’t lost in regulation in over a month.
“We've been playing really well at home as of late and we get to do it again tomorrow,” goaltender Jonas Hiller said. “We've proven that we find a way to step it up. When we came home after losing the second game in Vancouver think we showed reaction and I'm expecting the same thing tomorrow.
“We're still up 3-2 and if somebody would have told be before the series if I would take it I would take it any day. We still have home ice advantage but I think we still have to know that they're not just going to hand it to us, we're going to have to work hard for it. It's going to be a tough game again but if we play the same way we did in the third and fourth game we have a chance.”
Over the final three seasons of the regular season schedule, the Flames lost back-to-back sets just three times. They’ve yet to suffer a string of setbacks in the 2015 playoffs.
It’s not by coincidence, Deryk Engelland suggests.
“I think we've done a good job all year and now of after a loss, putting it behind us and just getting ready for the next game,” Engelland said. “We've done it all year. We did it at the beginning of the series after Game 2. And to come back here up 3-2, I don't think anything has changed.
“Yesterday was yesterday. Today is a new day and we're just preparing for tomorrow.”
There’s no quit.
“We always say there's no quitting on this team,” Backlund said. “Everybody battles day in and day out and no matter how bad it looks we always find a way to come together as a group and find a way to come back in games and win games.
“There's no quitting. It's a great group to be around, everyone is having fun and everyone is battling every day and it's been a fun year.”
NOTES: The Flames, as they’ve done throughout the playoffs, held an optional skate on a practice day…Hartley expressed he had options with his lineup heading into Game 6 on Saturday but didn’t specify if or how he would adjust his lineup.