The Calgary Flames, playing in their first post-season since 2009, took another step toward advancing to the second round of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs on Sunday night. In front of a home audience, Calgary defeated the Vancouver Canucks to stake a 2-1 lead in their first round best-of-seven series.
The Flames opened the scoring about six and a half minutes into the first period when Brandon Bollig scored his first goal of the series. Vancouver would tie it up a short time later however T.J. Brodie had another for Calgary at the 15:02 mark of the first. There would be no scoring in the second period and that set the stage for a potentially tight third however Calgary would runaway with the game with goals from Sam Bennett and Sean Monahan. The final score in game three was 4-2 following a late goal from Jannik Hansen of Vancouver.
Fans of the Flames have to be feeling optimistic about their chances of making the second round now and not just due to the fact that Calgary lead Vancouver in the series. Before game three, there was very little offense out of the Flames with Kris Russell, a defenseman, posting two goals in the first two games. However game three saw Calgary receive offense from an array of skaters while goaltender Jonas Hill had to face just nineteen shots.
Game four, one that promises to be pivotal, will come from Calgary on Tuesday night as the Flames will look to put a strangehold on the series. Should the Flames win game four they would hold a 3-1 series lead and their outlook on making the second round would then be a fantastic one. However if Vancouver should find a way to victory in Calgary, then the Canucks would draw even heading home for game five. Vancouver would also host a seventh game, if necessary, so a great deal appears to be hinging on the outcome from Calgary on Tuesday night.
New and notes about the series includes a situation involving Alex Burrows. The Vancouver forward had received a late instigator penalty on Sunday, an infraction that could have carried a suspension. However Burrows will be eligible to play on Tuesday as NHL.com have reported he “will not be suspended.”
In other series involving Canadian-based teams, the Montreal Canadiens lead the Ottawa Senators 3-0. The Winnipeg Jets will be action tonight from Manitoba as they look to get back into their series with the Anaheim Ducks. At time of writing, Anaheim lead that series 2-0.