The Flames came into GM Place Thursday night and sent the Canucks a message, you can’t out hit us, you can’t outplay us and tonight you can’t outscore us. The Flames played a dominating style of hockey, controlling the play in the Canuck end, clogging the lanes and clearing the front of their own net, making sure that Miika Kiprusoff could see every puck coming at him. Vancouver started out rather tentative and really didn’t get any consistent pressure on the Flames until late in the game. The low scoring final tally of 2-1 in favour of the Flames indicative of the close checking and solid goaltending offered up in game five.
Vancouver coach Marc Crawford showed little faith in Johan Hedberg after his embarrassing loss in Calgary two nights ago, starting Alex Auld recently called up from the Moose as an emergency back up, Thursday night, Auld was the goalie the Canucks were hanging their hopes on. And for the first period he did his best to make Crawford proud, holding the line against the Flames as they had a number of good opportunities to score in the first twenty minutes.
With no goals scored in the first, Craig Conroy opened the scoring at the four minute mark, as the Flames enjoyed a power play advantage. The goal served to quiet the usually rabid GM Place crowd. Henrik Sedin got them back into the game at the 16 minute mark when he deflected a Sami Salo shot into the net behind Kiprusoff, Vancouver’s first goal in 115 minutes of play. The teams traded off opportunities for the rest of the second and into the third before, Jarome Iginla put away what would go on to become the winning goal. Iginla tagged an Andrew Ferrence shot, which then appeared to go in off of Mattias Ohlund’s skate into the net behind Auld.
The Canucks put the pressure on in the third, out shooting the Flames 12-2, but Kiprusoff continued his mastery over the Canuck snipers shutting them down as time expired. The Flames taking a 3 game to 2 lead back to Calgary for game six. A win on Saturday night will send the Flames off to second round for the first time since 1989, the year they won the Stanley Cup. The Canucks will be anxious to ruin the party, they would much prefer to have the Flames make one more trip to BC before they are finished playing this year. Game Six should be a wild one, one team playing for its lives, the other putting its hard work ethic on display for the hometown fans, a chance to reward them for their long suffering support.