VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff
responded to the challenge from their coach.
Called out by Darryl Sutter for subpar performances in the playoff opener,
Iginla scored a goal and Kiprusoff made 25 saves as the Calgary Flames evened
their first-round series with Vancouver by beating the Canucks 2-1 Friday
Rookie Matthew Lombardi notched his first career playoff goal 50 seconds
after Iginla scored, giving Calgary its first playoff win since 1995.
``It was a great feeling just to be able to get an early goal, and to see
that second one go in was a huge momentum swing and it got our feet under us,''
Iginla said Iginla of his first playoff goal since scoring as a rookie eight
years ago. ``We didn't feel we played great the first game and this game we
came out and had a good start and were able to hold the lead.''
The victory gave the Flames home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series
that heads to Calgary for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Tuesday _ the first
playoff games for that city since 1996.
``We can't wait to go play in front of our own crowd,'' Iginla said.
Sutter, who said after the series-opening loss that Iginla played too much
of a perimeter game, was pleased with how his captain responded.
``I thought he played with some emotion,'' Sutter said. ``That's what
playoffs are about, you have to have emotional leaders.''
As for his goaltender's improvements after giving up five goals on 22 shots
in Game 1, Sutter said, ``We didn't get to this point without having solid
After being beaten by screens, deflections and rebounds on the Vancouver
power play on Wednesday, Kiprusoff did a better job fighting through the
traffic to find point shots and loose pucks.
``I didn't do a great job last game, so I was really more active looking for
the puck and I did a better job,'' Kiprusoff said of his first playoff win in
three years and second in six career starts.
Markus Naslund scored and Dan Cloutier made 22 saves for the Canucks, who
had won seven straight, six in the regular season and the series opener against
Vancouver won the Northwest Division by winning its final six games despite
losing star forward Todd Bertuzzi to a season-ending suspension for punching
Colorado's Steve Moore on March 8.
``They just simply outworked us,'' Cloutier said. ``You never want to see a
team come into your building and outwork you, especially in the playoffs.''
Kiprusoff got a couple of breaks early as his teammates swiped two pucks
away from the goal line in the opening minutes. By the time Sami Salo hit the
crossbar behind him 5:37 in, the Flames were already ahead 2-0.
``We controlled the play the first four minutes, they got a couple of breaks
and we got away from our focus a little bit,'' Canucks forward Matt Cooke said.
Iginla opened the scoring at 3:06, skating out from behind the net and
snapping a wrist shot past Cloutier seconds after Calgary's Chris Simon bumped
Cloutier out of position while cutting through the crease.
Cloutier argued his case to no avail, but was calmer after the game.
``The guy just kept going and pushed my stick around so he twisted me a
bit,'' Cloutier said.
The Flames made it 2-0 after a funny bounce just 50 seconds later when the
rebound of Rhett Warrener's point shot bounced into the equipment of Salo, who
stood alone in the slot. Salo spun around, trying to find the puck, and it
finally dropped into his feet just in time for Lombardi to swipe his first
playoff goal between Cloutier's legs.
Kiprusoff got his turn to argue when Vancouver scored its goal midway
through the second period, and he had a good case after Ed Jovanovski knocked
him down at the side of the crease during a four-on-three power play. That left
Naslund with an empty net.
``He pushed me,'' Kiprusoff said. ``I was surprised they didn't call it, but
right now it's just matter of we get the win.''
Kiprusoff preserved it with 11 saves in the third period, including great
stops off Marek Malik from the slot and Martin Rucinsky on a short-handed
``He s been bouncing back all year,'' Iginla said of Kiprusoff. ``Tonight he
stood on his head with early saves and late saves.''