Depth scoring leads the Flames to victory
It wasn't the superstars bulging the twine in the Calgary Flames 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks - it was the third and fourth line leading the way.
GAME IN A MINUTE
THE NUMBERS GAME
3 - Slashing penalties for Bourque
5 - Game misconducts handed out in the third period
THE BIG HIT
THE BIG SAVE
WHY THE FLAMES WON
OUR THREE STARS
"Second, or third level (scoring), it doesn't matter. People that put the puck in the net ... it doesn't matter where they come from. That's playoff hockey," Mike Keenan commented after the win.
As the Flames headed into Game 3, much of the talk was surrounding how the club needed put more pucks on the superb Nikolai Khabibulin and they did just that.
"I think that's how goals are scored now - it's rebounds, it's deflections and certainly not pretty goals but we'll take them, " said two-goal scorer David Moss.
Another major issue was the Flames not playing a full 60 minutes and that was addressed successfully by the club on Monday night.
"We needed this game desperately and we've been talking about playing a full 60 minutes so when we got 'em down, we've really got to put the pedal down and we were able to do that," said Moss.
The Hawks got the rambunctious C of Red fairly docile just two minutes into the contest with a quick power play goal from Patrick Sharp but that would only last a short time.
"They scored that first goal but obviously you've seen in the playoffs so far that any lead's not safe. We just battled back and started playing our game," said Eric Nystrom.
Just under five minutes later, Eric Nystrom got the fans right back into the game with an excellent run-and-gun play with Curtis Glencross. The 26-year-old held the puck for the perfect length of time, wiring it over Khabibulin's shoulder to even the game up.
"We obviously needed that one to get back into the game," Nystrom said. "Glenny made a great pass across and Petey drove the net and opened a whole lane up and it was pretty much text book from there. I tried to get it away as quick as I could and get it on net."
Calgary's second goal of the night really got the crowd into the game. A flukey goal by Rene Bourque nearly tore the roof off the Dome.
With Olli Jokinen sweeping the puck behind the net, Bourque picked it up and in a seemingly harmless move, threw it gently towards the net on a sharp angle. Khabibulin obviously thought it was a weak pass as well as he read it wrong and it slid between his feet to give the Flames the lead at 17:07 of the second frame.
The "Bulin" chants started up shortly after the goal was announced and they continued on for several minutes, much to the chagrin of the man in the Hawks net.
"We gotta get pucks and players to the net if we want to be successful against him and the more we do that, hopefully we'll get the bounces like tonight," Moss said of the goal.
The Flames third goal, from Moss, earned Adam Pardy his first career point in the playoffs after he charged into the zone and fired a hard shot on net. The rebound bounced to a storming Moss who flung it into the cage for his second of the postseason.
Pardy followed up the stellar offensive play with a massive hit on Dustin Byfuglien. The Bonavista native was caught up ice when the Hawks rugged forward went charging through the neutral zone and into the Flames end but Pardy, with a burst of speed, tracked him down and threw him to the ice.
That physical play was steady throughout the entire contest, with Calgary landing a whooping 45 hits on the Hawks.
"It's a physical series and when both teams are playing with that desperation, you get chippy," chuckled Moss.
Moss notched his second of the night with a nifty tip-in off a hard wrister from Glencross. The C of Red went absolutely nuts, screaming loud enough to rattle eardrums, as Moss skated into the glass with his arms to the sky.
"It's nice," he said modestly when asked about his contributions. "It's huge to get the win and those two goals are just a benefit of going to the net and getting rebounds."
It was then the goal-scorers job to kill off three penalties late in the game that could have easily gotten Chicago back in the game. The penality killers didn't bat an eye when sent out on the ice, instead snuffing out any momentum the Hawks had gotten from getting the man advantage.
"Those kills were huge," said Moss. "Special teams are very important at this time of the year and our PK was solid tonight. We're going to need it to be the rest of the way."
In the four minutes that the Flames were down a man, the team was able to generate three decent scoring chances. Nystrom and Glencross were key in those chances, showing just how 'on' they were during the 60 minutes.
Martin Havlat was able to put another past Miikka Kiprusoff late in the final period but that was all the Hawks were able to muster. They ended the game by starting several scrums and were handed three game misconducts to Calgary's two.
"That's playoff hockey and I think it's going to be that way for the rest of series," Moss said with a grin when asked about the nastiness at the end of the game. "Both teams want it so bad and that's what happens."
Nystrom reiterated that the Flames intensity level isn't going to go down if the Hawks continue the roughness they demonstrated at the end of the game.
"They want to be sore losers? We're not going to back down. That's the way it is."