CALGARY 4 VANCOUVER 3
| Flames Line Combinations |
|Defence Pairings: |
|Kiprusoff (S) McElhinney |
The Flames started the game with plenty of jump and immediately put together two good shifts to keep the pressure on the Canucks. However, Vancouver pushed back gradually. With the fourth lines for both teams on the ice, the Flames failed on a rimming attempt and Darcy Hordichuk, all alone in front of the net, had two whacks at a rebound and scored his first of the season at 5:33 to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead.
The Flames battled back with a power play goal when Michael Cammalleri's centering pass hit Canuck defender Sami Salo and fooled goaltender Curtis Sanford.
Daniel Sedin, shooting wide and cutting to the net, lifted a shot under the bar to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead at 11:41.
After surviving a five-on-three and getting some big stops from goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, the Flames scored late in the period during a delayed penalty. Again, it was Cammalleri, taking a cross-ice feed from Jarome Iginla and putting it home to tie the game 2-2.
The Canucks' power play was dangerous, but excellent effort from Cory Sarich, Adrian Aucoin, Craig Conroy and Curtis Glencross--not to mention two or three big saves from Miikka Kiprusoff, kept the Canucks at bay.
Kiprusoff also made a huge save on Jannik Hansen on a breakaway.
Cammalleri scored again from Iginla who fed his winger from the corner. Cammalleri made no mistake from the low slot beating Sanford inside the short post in notching his first career hat trick and giving the Flames a 3-2 lead.
Vancouver clawed back into the game when Mason Raymond scored on a 2-on-1 break with 8:42 left in the game.
The Flames would not be down for long as Curtis Glencross intercepted a pass at the Canucks blueline, slipped past two defenders and put a backhand deke on Curtis Sanford at 13:29 to stake the Flames to a 4-3 lead. It got crazy late, but the Flames hung on to win the first game in the home-and-home series.
"I thought we had a good start to the game," said captain Jarome Iginla, who had two assists in the win. "They are a team that has been on a roll. They are good defensively and they have been all year. We hung in on the road. We didn't deviate. We didn't get frsutrated. We stuck with it tonight and found a way to win in the third"
Cammalleri, who recorded his first career hat trick, said the Flames have set themselves up for a big rematch Saturday.
"You can't have a series if you don't win the first one," said Cammalleri. "It would be accurate to say that we are starting to feel better about our game now."