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The Official Site of the Calgary Flames

Game 5 Primer

by Peter Zuurbier / Calgary Flames
FLAMES LEADING SCORERS

Postseason
Player
GP
G
A
P
Jokinen 4 2 3 5
Iginla 4 3 1 4
Nystrom 4 2 2 4

Record: 46-30-6
Season Series: 0-3-1

vs.

Record:
46-24-12
Season Series: 4-0-0

HAWKS LEADING SCORERS

Postseason
Player
GP
G
A
P
Sharp 4 2 3 5
Barker 4 2 3 5
Toews 4 2 3 5

GAME 5
Flames @ Hawks 7:00 p.m. MT
United Center, Chicago, Il
  TV:TSN, Radio: The Fan 960
Series tied 2-2

GAME 5 MATCH-UP

The Flames-Blackhawks series begins anew tonight in Chicago. The series is tied at two, and no team has won on the road yet, so everything remains up for grabs in Game 5.

Going into the contest, it's tough to see where the momentum lies. The Flames have won the past two games, but remain vulnerable to lapses like the one that allowed Chicago to score three unanswered goals and tie Game 4 in the second period. Now that the Blackhawks are on their home turf, they will surely be energized by their rabid fans, and the Flames know to offset that they will have to maintain the work ethic that got them back into the series.

"It's tied up, but we can't be satisfied by any means, we can't be complacent - we've got to push forward. If we put our minds to it, we can achieve anything. It's up to us," said Jordan Leopold. Whatever they've gotten, it's because our lack of discipline, lack of execution. If we take care of business in our locker-room, we'll be fine."

The offense that eluded the team in their first two losses was found at the Saddledome, as the Flames were able to find a great deal of success against Nikolai Khabibulin, scoring 9 goals in Games 3 & 4. Adrian Aucoin knows that the formula for success against Khabibulin is simple.

"We're shooting the puck a lot, we're getting bodies in front of him... we know how good he is so we've got to get bodies, and create screens, and get a lot of rebounds," said Aucoin.

Going back to Chicago, the Flames cane reflect on their excellent play in the first periods of both Games 1 & 2, even though they allowed the Hawks to come back and win both games. The team is winless in Chicago this season, but having claimed the momentum from the Hawks after two sound victories at home, the Flames are going to do their best to build on the successes they did enjoy last time at the United Center.

"Any time you play in another team's building and you have a little success, you can build on that. But it's certainly not going to be easy. We've got to prepare ourselves to play a tough road game," said David Moss.

"It's huge to be tied 2-2, we could be ahead in the series from the way we played," agreed Eric Nystrom. "We've got some confidence now."

Unfortunately the victories in Games 3 & 4 did not come without cost, as Rene Bourque, Daymond Langkow, and Craig Conroy all went down with varying injuries. Langkow is expected to play in Game 5 but Bourque and Conroy will be gametime decisions. The players know they will have to pick up their play to compensate for their fallen brethren, but are confident they will have as many hands on deck as possible.

"It's playoffs, it's amazing how quickly guys can heal in a couple of days," said Adrian Aucoin. "There's always going to be bumps and bruises, guys are used to playing through it this time of year."

Other teammates look at the injuries as an opportunity for the young players, who have played well for the most part when called upon, to make a name for themselves on the biggest of stages.

"We've got extra guys who are working hard, we've got guys that are ready to step into the lineup," said Olli Jokinen.

Regardless of who suits up for the Flames Saturday night, the team will have their hands full with a re-grouped, re-energized, and re-focused Blackhawks team. A win means returning home squarely in the drivers seat, a loss means having to regroup yet again in time for Game 6 Monday. The Flames playoff future is squarely in their hands; Saturday night will go a long way towards deciding how long that future lasts.


KEY PLAYERS

For the Flames…

 
Kiprusoff
 

The Flames have a tenuous hold on the momentum in the series heading into Game 5, but if they want to head back to the 'Dome Monday with an opportunity to finish off the Hawks, Miika Kiprusoff will need to continue to hold the course steady with his solid play.

Kipper's playoff statistics (3.01 GAA, .908 Sv%) are similar to his regular season ones (2.84 GAA, .903 Sv%), but in the unfriendly confines of the United Center he will undoubtedly be called upon to make at least a couple of game-changing saves. This is his opportunity to prove definitively who carry's the crown as the top 'keeper in the series.

 

For the Hawks...

 
Khabibulin
 

The Hawks are crumbling, and it begins with the fall of the 'Builn Wall.' Though they refuse to admit it, the Flames seem to have solved Hawks netminder Nikolai Khabibulin, who allowed 9 goals in Games 3 & 4.

The Blackhawks have around $12 million invested in the goaltender position after they went out last summer and signed Cristobal Huet to a four-year contract. Huet sits on the bench making $5.6 million per season, and if Khabibulin continues to struggle, the calls for a change will only increase.

But can the Hawks wait another game before going to Huet, and if they play Huet and he falters, can they then go back to Khabibulin. These are the kind of dilemma's that haunt the dreams of playoff coaches.

 

 


NOTEWORTHY
Unless the San Jose Sharks can overcome their 3-1 deficit against the Anaheim Ducks, the winner of the Flames-Blackhawks series has a second-round date with the Vancouver Canucks... Andre Roy was suspended for Game 5 and fined $2,500 by the NHL for an incident that occurred before Game 4... The Flames have been 2-2 in every single playoff series they've participated in since 2004...

PREVIOUS GAME


The Flames held serve at home with a resilient Game 4. Though the Hawks got out to a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game, Jarome Iginla answered less than a minute later to tie it up. Olli Jokinen scored his first two postseason goals, and Adrian Aucoin bagged another as the Flames enjoyed a 4-1 lead half-way through the second period. The lead was shortlived, as the Hawks managed to tie the game by the second intermission with goals by Versteeg, Barker, and Pahlsson. Eric Nystrom scored the go-ahead goal with just under seven minutes left in the game, and Jarome Iginla burried his second into an empty net for the victory. Final Score, 6-4 Flames, series tied 2-2.

QUOTABLES

"We got away from (consistent, physical play in Game 4), we better learn from that quick,"

- Flames forward Eric Nystrom

"Personal statistics don't really matter -- plus/minus, goals, assists -- this time of year it doesn't matter,"

-Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf in the Calgary Sun

"Every game has been very close from start to finish, and you don't know who's going to win until the very end of it,"

- Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville in the Chicago Tribune
ROSTER MOVES

Daymond Langkow is expected to play in Game 5. Rene Bourque, and Craig Conroy, are listed as day-to-day with undisclosed injuries. Robyn Regehr (lower body) listed as day-to-day. Rhett Warrener (Shoulder), Wayne Primeau (foot), and Mark Giordano (upper body) are all on indefinite injured reserve.

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