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Flames understand fourth win will be toughest

by Aaron Vickers /

CALGARY -- It's a cliché the Calgary Flames haven't been in a situation to dust off in quite some time, but one they will repeat constantly heading into Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Vancouver Canucks.

The fourth win is the toughest to get.

Ahead 3-1 as the series returns to Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, CNBC, TVA Sports), the Flames understand the challenge that lies ahead.

The last one, they say, is the hardest.

"So I've heard," said rookie forward Josh Jooris, participating in his first Stanley Cup Playoffs. "The fourth one is definitely hardest. Their backs are against the wall now. It's a good position to be in but I think we've got to take care of our business, play a solid road game, play the same way we've been playing, and hopefully get the job done."

With one more win, the Flames will advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004, when they lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Another victory would mark the second time since winning the Cup in 1989 that the Flames have advanced beyond the opening round, too.

But another victory isn't going to come easy.

"The fourth one is hardest one to win," said defenseman Dennis Wideman, one of Calgary's most experienced playoff performers with 48 postseason games under his belt. "We've got a few cracks at it here. We want to go in and we want to try and end this thing in Vancouver. We know they are going to come out extremely hard and throw everything they have at us, so we've got to be ready. They are going to come with a push early and we need to be ready for the challenge."

The Flames earned a split in their first tour of Vancouver, winning Game 1 before losing Game 2 and returning to Calgary with the series 1-1. In their first home playoff dates since 2009, the Flames won Game 3 and 4, and are in the position to eliminate the Canucks on home ice.

The memory of a 4-1 loss in Game 2 still lingers in the Flames' memory as they eye the clinch in the opposition's territory.

"We've just got to play simpler. I think we were being too cute in Game 2," Jooris said. "I think we've got to shoot more pucks and just try and get to their goalie. They came out with a good bounce back in Game 2 so we know what they play like in their own building.

"I think if we can match their intensity, we know what to expect now going into their building with their fans and stuff. We've just got to be able to play our game and not worry about that stuff. We know they are going to have a lot of energy.

"It's one and done for them, so we know they are going to come out hard. We've just got to stick to what's got us here and that's the biggest thing. We have to stick together as a team and play our game."

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