WATCH: Global’s Tracy Nagai spends some time on the Red Mile with all the happy Flames fans after the 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks
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.
Johnny Gaudreau and linemate Jiri Hudler had goals to help give the Flames a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks to take a commanding three games to one lead in their 2015 NHL playoff series.
“The last step, I think, is the hardest one,” said Hudler. “We’ve got to be confident, but not too confident. They’ve got a great team and you saw they kept coming.”
Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack allowed three goals on seven shots in the first period before being replaced by Ryan Miller.
While Lack struggled in net, defenceman Kevin Bieksa, who was lustily booed by fans every time he touched the puck, says the Canucks have no chance of beating the Flames if they don’t pick up their offensive production.
“We’ve played good hockey a lot of times in this series, but that means nothing,” Bieksa said. “We’re scoring one, maybe two goals a game right now. That’s not going to win you many games in the playoffs.”
“We go back home and we’re a confident group when we’ve faced elimination before. The last one’s the toughest one to win, so we go back home and we put everything we can into that one.”
Gaudreau scored his first-ever post-season goal at 3:23 of the first period on a pass from Dennis Wideman.
WATCH: Johnny Gaudreau’s goal
The Canucks equalized less than five minutes later when a Henrik Sedin pass deflected off Flames defenceman Kris Russell and between the legs of goaltender Jonas Hiller.
WATCH: Henrik Sedin’s goal
Jiri Hudler helped the Flames regain the lead.
WATCH: Jiri Hudler’s goal
Sam Bennett scored late in the opening period to give the Flames a 3-1 lead. 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.
WATCH: Sam Bennett’s goal
After replacing a struggling Lack, Miller stopped all 15 shots he faced.
The Canucks showed some life in the third period, but Hiller ended the game with 28 saves, allowing one goal for the second straight game.
Canucks forwards Brandon McMillan and Linden Vey played their first post-season games.
Forward Alex Burrows did not dress after suffering an upper-body injury earlier in the day. Brad Richardson also sat out the game, although there wasn’t an obvious reason for his absence.
Head coach Willie Desjardins said the Canucks missed their veteran presence.
“Those are two of our main killers,” he said. “We use them all the time.”
-with files from Canadian Press
RAW VIDEO: Flames fans celebrate 3-1 series lead