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Inside the Game: First blood

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames


Flames Line Combinations


Defence Pairings:
Kiprusoff (S)  McElhinney


First Period
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.

Second Period
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.

Third Period
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."

THE BIG HITS: Canucks forward Mike Brown cruised into the Flames zone and rocked Cory Sarich, the latter usually a giver, not a taker, in the first period. That immediately brought Brandon Prust into the mix for a tussle with Brown. Few punches, lots of wrestling in that match.
WHY THE FLAMES WON: Calgary didn't deviate from the gameplan even when they fell behind to claim a big win against a team that had not lost in regulation since November 2.
THE BIG SAVE: In the second period Calgary had successfully killed off a 53-second 5-on-3 to gain some breathing room, but the Canucks continued to pressure as the second penalty wound down. With the puck whizzing around the Flames zone, goalie Miikka Kiprusoff looked to be way out of position when a pass went into the slot. Somehow Kiprusoff managed to lunge back into position and get his blocker on a Mason Raymond shot to keep the game at 2-1. Later in the second period, the Flames goalie stuffed his pad on a Jannick Hansen breakaway deke to deny the Canucks again.

THE ROSTER: The Flames had no healthy scratches Thursday. F Wayne Primeau (foot) and F Dustin Boyd (upper body) were the latest additions to the injured list. Both are day-to-day. F Andre Roy and F Brandon Prust, healthy scratches just 48 hours prior, were inserted on the fourth line. D James Vandermeer (broken leg) and D Rhett Warrener (shoulder surgery) are also injured.

WORTH NOTING: Curtis Glencross has now scored in three straight games. His game winner came when he picked off an Alex Edler pass at the Canuck blueline and he used his speed to split two defenders and beat Sanford with a backhand.

BY THE NUMBERS: Michael Cammalleri's first period goal was the 100th of his career. He would add two more for his first career hat trick. The last time a Flame had a hat trick against the Canucks was January 24, 1998 when Marty McInnis lit the lamp three times. Last year on this day, Cammalleri registered the 100th point of his career.
THOSE PESKY SEDIN TWINS AGAIN: Earlier this week Daniel Sedin picked up a 400th point of his career. On Thursday, it was his brother, Henrik, who picked up point number 400. As twins they have never been too far apart, right? They seem to feed on playing Calgary, too. They have a combined 71 points in 91 games against the Flames. This season alone they have a combined 11 points in three games including one points for Henrik and one points for Daniel in Thursday's outing.
UP NEXT: The two rivals will get little rest as the second half of the home-and-home series goes Saturday at the Pengrowth Saddledome in a Hockey Night in Canada tilt.
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