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Flames look to defend home ice, take 3-1 series lead

by Aaron Vickers /

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames took home ice in Vancouver. They're hoping to keep it heading back.

Up 2-1 on the Vancouver Canucks, the Flames look to put a stranglehold on the series heading into Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round best-of-7 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports).

"It's the first team that wins four," coach Bob Hartley said. "We did part of the job going to Vancouver and taking Game 1. So technically, for what it's worth right now, we have home-ice advantage. It's up to us to use it. If we win tonight then we're using it. If we lose tonight, we're giving it right back and we're starting a best-of-3.

"This is a pivotal game for both teams. They're all important games, so once again I think we are going to see a great game."

Keeping that home-ice advantage could go a long way in helping the Flames earn their first Stanley Cup Playoff series win since 2004, also Calgary's last trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

But Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller isn't looking at that yet.

"We put ourselves in a good position to have home-ice advantage and we have to win tonight to keep that, otherwise it's the other way around again," he said. "It's another game and we want to win. I think we've done a pretty good job the whole year just taking it game-by-game and not looking too far ahead at too big of a picture."

The Flames took a 1-0 series lead in Vancouver, but the Canucks earned the split coming back to Calgary.

In Game 3 on Sunday, their first playoff game at Scotiabank Saddledome since 2009, the Flames retook the series lead with a convincing 4-2 victory.

It has Game 4 shaping up to be the most important game of the season for each club, Calgary forward Brandon Bollig pointed out.

"There's no question that tonight's the biggest game of our season," said Bollig, who along with forward Jiri Hudler are the only two members of the Flames who have won the Stanley Cup. "We know that, they know that. I'm sure it's their biggest game too. I just think we have to approach it the same way we've approached all these games.

"It is playoffs and it is that much more important, but you still have to approach it like every other game. You have to stay calm, play your game. We're in this position for a reason."

Defenseman Kris Russell, who leads the Flames with two goals and three points in the series, didn't stop short at discussing the importance of the outcome of Game 4, and not looking ahead to Game 5 in Vancouver.

"All games are must-wins," he said. "One step closer to the real prize, so we are going to treat this game the same way we treat every game. We're not going to look past it. We have a job to do, it starts at the opening faceoff, and we're going to be ready."

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Radim Vrbata

Chris Higgins - Nick Bonino - Sven Baertschi

Ronalds Kenins - Bo Horvat - Jannik Hansen

Shawn Matthias - Brad Richardson - Derek Dorsett

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber

Luca Sbisa - Kevin Bieksa

Eddie Lack

Ryan Miller

Scratched: Linden Vey, Brandon McMillan, Ryan Stanton

Injured: Zack Kassian (back), Alexandre Burrows (upper body)


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Joe Colborne

Michael Ferland - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Brandon Bollig - Josh Jooris - Mason Raymond

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

TJ Brodie - Deryk Engelland

Tyler Wotherspoon - David Schlemko

Jonas Hiller

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Markus Granlund, Corey Potter, Drew Shore

Injured: Ladislav Smid (upper body), Paul Byron (lower body), Mark Giordano (torn biceps tendon), Raphael Diaz (lower body), (lower body), Lance Bouma (upper body)

Status update: The Flames had a full roster on the ice for morning skate. Hartley is expected to use the same lineup as Game 3.

Who's hot: Russell, who scored the game-winner with 29.6 seconds remaining in Game 1, has points in all three games in the series. … Hiller has a 2.07 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in the series.

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