Despite 2-1 deficit, Calgary has enough to overcome Vancouver
Posted: Monday April 12, 2004 5:59PM; Updated: Monday April 12, 2004 7:51PM
No. 3Vancouver vs. No. 6Calgary
STORY OF THE SERIES
Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff gave up five goals in Game 1, but has settled down to surrender just three in the past two games.
Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images
As we expected, this has been as physical and intense a series as any in the first round. The Canucks are matching the Flames' high-energy, throw-the-body style. There's been an ongoing battle between Vancouver defenseman Mattias Ohlund and Calgary forward Jarome Iginla, who has been dogged game after game by Ohlund. That battle boiled over when the two exchanged blows in the final seconds of Vancouver's win in Game 3.
SURPRISE OF THE SERIES
The Canucks' power play. It came out steaming in Game 1, scoring four goals to solidify a 5-3 win. Vancouver added another man-advantage goal in Game 2; and in Game 3, with Calgary up 1-0, Markus Naslund potted Vancouver's sixth power-play goal of the series to tie the score.
CANUCKS WIN IF...
They continue to match the Flames' intensity, and if they get solid goaltending. Backup goalie Johan Hedberg replaced Dan Cloutier, who was injured (twisted leg of some kind) in the first period of Game 3. Hedberg, who had a good playoff run with Pittsburgh a few years back, was solid in making 19 saves in the Canucks' 2-1 win.
FLAMES WIN IF...
They continue to batter the Canucks at every turn, find a way to shut down the Vancouver power play for a game or two and free up Iginla for scoring chances. Iginla had a goal and a key assist in Game 3 and could be on the verge of a big night. They also need a win at home in Game 4. Vancouver hasn't lost in 10 straight games in Calgary -- a trend the Flames must stop immediately.
The Flames may be spent by the time this round is over, but they've got enough to pull this series out. Sticking with the original pick: Flames in six or seven.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Kostya Kennedy takes sides each week at SI.com.