The first round playoff series between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks will continue on Sunday in the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. The series, following Vancouver’s 4-1 win in game two, will now switch over to Calgary, Alberta in what will be a very important game three.
Recapping the series so far, game one saw Calgary post two goals in the third period to defeat Vancouver on their home ice 2-1. That got the boo-birds going a bit in Vancouver, a city that has seen many post-season failures since almost winning the Cup in 2011.
However game two saw the Sedin twins answer the call early as Daniel, on an assist from both his brother and Alexandre Burrows, opened the scoring before the three-minute mark of the first period. Chris Higgins of the Canucks would tally what would be the game winner a few minutes later, scoring on the power play against the Flames.
Tied at 1-1, the series is now considered a virtual coin toss. BetVictor, for example, have posted odds of -110 (10/11) for each team to win the series outright.
A headliner in the series so far is definitely Eddie Lack as the Vancouver goaltender has only given up three goals through two games. In game two of the best of seven series the netminder had 23 saves to post a 95.7% save percentage, good enough to earn him the top star of the game. Should he continue to put up similar numbers, it would be very difficult for Calgary to advance.
That is especially true since the main scorers for the Flames have yet been able to mount any kind of significant offense. Calgary’s Kris Russell, not generally known for scoring touch, has been the main source of the Flames’ scoring so far. The defenseman, despite only scoring four goals over the course of the entire regular season, lit the lamp twice in Vancouver. That could be taken as a positive sign but usually when a peripheral scoring threat is tallying goals, you want it to be supplemental to your main sources of offense – not the only offense.
Another player making headlines for Calgary, although perhaps for the wrong reason, is Sam Bennett. The Flames’ rookie, just 18-years old, was a bit of a question mark in game two. However Aaron Vickers, writing at NHL.com, stated that Bennett “feels good enough to be in the lineup for Game 3.”
That game is scheduled to take place in downtown Calgary at 10pm ET on Sunday night (8pm local). Neither team appears to be under more pressure than the other. Calgary will be playing on home ice while Vancouver carries the expectation of a fan base that has been disappointed too many times in recent years.
The Flames enter the game as a mild favorite (10/13) however with Lack playing well, the Canucks could be a little under-rated.