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Calgary Flames 2, Vancouver Canucks 1 FINAL @NHLdotcom

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ The Calgary Flames know how difficult it is to reach the second round of the NHL playoffs, they haven't done it in 15 years.

But they are very close now.

Jarome Iginla's third-period goal put the Flames within one win of the Western Conference semifinals as Calgary beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 Thursday night.

The Flames captain snapped a tie 5:37 into the final period and Calgary took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 6 at home on Saturday. The Flames have not won a playoff series since capturing the Stanley Cup in 1989.

``This was the toughest one yet and we expect even tougher next game,'' said Iginla sporting the green hard hat given to the hardest-working Flames player after every victory.

``We knew it would be a tough series, we knew it would be a long one. We didn't expect anything different. Now we're in a good position, but as good as it feels, it's about getting ready for Game 6 and having a chance to close it at home.''

The Flames caught a break on Iginla's goal that snapped a 1-1 tie. A shot by defenseman Mike Commodore ricocheted in off Iginla and the skate of Canucks defender Mattias Ohlund, who was tied up in the crease with Flames forward Martin Gelinas.

``The toughest game is still yet to come, it keeps getting tougher,'' Flames coach Darryl Sutter said. ``They're such a high-end team in terms of skill, and our game is to try and shut those top guys down. Hopefully we can do it when we get back home.

``I don't think it matters where you're playing right now. The actual home-ice advantage doesn't help at this point. It's a war of attrition.''

Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff continued his domination over the Canucks, making 32 saves, including 12 in the third period when the Flames had just two shots.

``Kipper has been so good for us all season, and this series he's been standing on his head again,'' Iginla said. ``We have so much confidence in him. We made him make too many saves, especially in the third. They kept coming with chance after chance. It was good to get the win.''

Following a scoreless first period, Calgary's Craig Conroy, and Henrik Sedin of the Canucks exchanged second-period, power-play goals. As well as being the Canucks' seventh goal with the man advantage in the series, Sedin's score also ended Kiprusoff's shutout streak against the Canucks at 114 minutes, 50 seconds.

``I thought we were better at (paying the price) than we had in any other game, but we still have to find another notch,'' Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. ``Throughout the lineup there are guys that can play more of a role in that domain. We've got to have everybody. There's more for our guys to give, there's got to be. You've got to find more.

``We can't allow ourselves to be content with all right, we've got to be better and force our will on them.''

With starting goaltender Dan Cloutier out with a sprained ankle sustained in Game 3, Canucks coach Marc Crawford pulled a surprise. He bypassed backup Johan Hedberg in favor of Alex Auld, a recent recall from Manitoba of the AHL.

Auld made his first NHL playoff start after going 2-2-2 with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage in six games this season. In three seasons in the Canucks system, Auld has gone 6-5-2 with a 1.82 GAA in 14 NHL games. Vancouver outshot Calgary 33-20.

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