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Game 3 Player To Watch: Michael Ferland

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

-- The Vancouver Canucks may not have known who Michael Ferland was heading into the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs but they certainly know who he is now.

The 22-year-old Calgary rookie has had an immediate impact in the first round series between the Flames and Canucks, getting under Vancouver's skin with his tenacious, in-your-face style of play.

"My job is to give them hard minutes," he stated after Friday's dust-up at Rogers Arena. "I want them to know when I'm out there."

In Game 1, Ferland led all skaters with seven hits -- including a one on Yannick Weber that was hard enough to make his teeth rattle -- and set up David Jones' equalizer in the third period.

Michael Ferland
Left Wing  - CGY
Goals: 0 | Assists: 1 | Pts: 1
PIM: 14 | Hits: 10
Snagging a Weber turnover at the blueline, Ferland sped through the slot and dropped the puck back to a waiting Jones, who rifled it past Eddie Lack.

"I’m happy he’s on our side," Jones said afterwards. "He runs around and finishes his checks. You’ve always got to keep your head up..

"The coaches have been high on him from the get-go, so for him to come in and seize the opportunity is huge. Some players get that opportunity and they’re afraid to make mistakes but he’s full-on, playing hard and it’s huge for our team."

The Swan River, MB product followed up his NHL postseason debut with a physical Game 2.

He got acquainted with Lack, bumping into the netminder on a delayed call in the third period, and exchanged pleasantries with Kevin Bieksa and Alex Burrows on more than one occasion.

He wrapped up the night in the fights that broke out at the end of the game. Lack held onto the puck after Ferland put a backhand shot on net and that is when the pushing and shoving started.

Ferland grabbed a hold of Dan Hamhuis behind the net while Deryk Engelland exchanged blows with Derek Dorsett and Matt Stajan dropped the gloves with Brad Richardson.

"I'll do whatever I can for these guys, I'll stick up for my teammates," he said of the melee.

Bob Hartley is pleased with how the youngster has acquitted himself in the playoffs, noting that penalties like the cross-checking call in Game 1 and charging minor in Game 2 can be chalked up as a part of the process of learning how to control his emotions in the postseason.

"We're talking about Mony and Johnny learning, Ferly is learning too," Hartley said. "He's a strong kid. He's a competitor. He's come a long way since last year. He's enjoying the moment and he's playing to win."

When asked if he thought he was in the Canucks heads going into Game 3, the winger summed up his wish in four words.

"I hope I am."

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