CALGARY — The Calgary Flames are a win away from advancing to the second round of the NHL playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
Jiri Hudler led Calgary with a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. Calgary leads their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final three games to one.
The Flames head to Vancouver with the chance to win the series in Thursday’s Game 5 and move past the first round for the first time since 2004. Calgary reached the Stanley Cup final that year and lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A Game 6, if necessary, will be Saturday in Calgary and a Game 7 would be Monday back in Vancouver.
Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau scored his first playoff goal and 18-year-old rookie Sam Bennett his second in as many games.
Dennis Wideman contributed a pair of assists for the Flames, who split the first two games of the series in Vancouver before back-to-back wins at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Goaltender Jonas Hiller made 28 saves for the win.
Captain Henrik Sedin countered for the Canucks. Starter Eddie Lack was pulled after giving up three goals on seven shots in the first period. Ryan Miller turned away the 15 he faced in relief.
The Canucks were minus significant playoff experience in Game 4 with the absence of forwards Brad Richardson and Alex Burrows. Linden Vey and Brandon McMillan drew in for their first playoff action of the series.
There wasn’t an obvious reason for Richardson’s absence, but Burrows was injured during Vancouver’s morning skate. He staggered off the ice in obvious pain, was put on a stretcher and taken to hospital in an ambulance.
The Canucks said Burrows sustained an upper-body injury and had been taken to hospital for “precautionary reasons.”
The visitors outshot Calgary 11-7, but trailed 3-1 after the opening period. Vancouver mustered just three shots in a scoreless second period to Calgary’s six.
Bennett crashed the net and deflected T.J. Brodie’s sharp-angled shot by Lack at 19:18 of the first period. It was the lone even-strength goal of the period with the first three power-play tallies.
Calgary scored two against a Canucks penalty kill that ranked second in the league in the regular season.
Kris Russell teed up Wideman, whose one-timer deflected off Hudler to make it 2-1 at 9:20. Vancouver evened up at 8:12 when Sedin’s wrist shot deflected between Hiller’s pads.
Gaudreau finished a tic-tac-toe play at 3:23 for his first career playoff goal. From behind Vancouver’s net, Hudler fed the puck out to Sean Monahan who dished across to Gaudreau to finish with a wrist shot.