Just like that, Vancouver has stolen home ice advantage back from Calgary and looks to take a stronghold in the series tonight. With a win, Vancouver would be heading back home Thursday up three games to one threatening to close out the series and end Calgary's season.
It will be interesting to see how the Flames react to this adversity. It could be argued that they haven't faced much of it this season, having been in the playoff hunt all season long.
However, a big reason why the Flames haven't had much adversity is because they've always won when they absolutely had to. They absolutely have to win tonight or the season could be cut short.
FLAMES KEYS TO SUCCESS:
The Flames were clearly thrown off their game plan when Cloutier was replaced by Hedberg. They need to continue getting traffic in front of the net and pressuring the puck after dumping it in to try and force him to move the puck.
This is about as close to a must-win game as teams get in the playoffs without facing elimination. If the Flames can keep it tight like they did in game 3 they will at the very least have a good chance to win this one and make it a best-of-three.
Stay out of the box:
If it wasn't before, it's clear now that the Flames cannot afford to take many penalties. They need to stay disciplined and limit any potential infractions.
Vancouver's special teams are the reason they're winning this series. They have the best power play in the playoffs at 40.0%. Their penalty killing has also been stellar, at 90.9% especially in shutting down Calgary the past two games.
Johan Hedberg has a lot of success in the postseason and has shown in the past he can carry a team deep into the playoffs. In the 2001 playoffs, he led the Penguins to the third round. In the second round, he defeated Dominik Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres in seven games with overtime victories in games six and seven.
EVERYBODY SHOULD KNOW...
Matthew Lombardi, Chris Simon and Jordan Leopold are tied for Calgary's lead in scoring this playoff season. The Flames are getting the secondary scoring they so badly needed but they still need more production from Iginla (one goal), Conroy (one point) and even Shean Donovan (0 points) if they hope to advance. Naslund has five points already. If Iginla had that kind of production, the Flames would be the ones with the 2-1 lead.
Puck possession and puck pursuit both played a big part in Calgary's success this season and a big reason for that was the team's strength in the faceoff circle. So far in the playoffs, the Flames rank 15th out of 16 teams (46.3%).
Calgary: Stephane Yelle (hip) is still on the shelf. Dean McAmmond (back) and Steve Reinprecht (shoulder) are both out for the rest of the season. Dave Lowry (abdomen) may return later on in the series. Toni Lydman (upper body) is doubtful, so look for Commodore or Montador to draw in.
Vancouver: Todd Bertuzzi (suspension) is out for the playoffs. Mats Lindgren (back) and Magnus Arvedson (knee) are done for the season. Dan Cloutier (knee) is out for tonight. The Canucks have recalled goaltender Robert McVicar from the Manitoba Moose to be their third stringer. McVicar spent most of the season in Columbia of the ECHL but got a few starts for the Moose down the stretch after Moss was traded and Auld was in Vancouver.
When Calgary scores first in a game, they had the fifth-best winning percentage in the regular season at .707. However, Vancouver had the second-highest success in the regular season when the other team scores first at .353 (Boston had the highest at .438)… Calgary had the best winning percentage in the league when leading after one period this regular season at .952 – something they've only done once in three games this series… The Flames' power play at home this season when on a two-man advantage was 57.1% as opposed to only 14.3% in the same situation on the road.
"That was the greatest hockey I've ever played, that Game 7 against Buffalo, the best game I've ever played and it's a pretty good memory to have. It was a great feeling and great to be part of something like that. You hate to see anyone injured, but I've been ready for the opportunity and we'll see what happens." – Canucks (now) starting goaltender Johan Hedberg on his past playoff success with Pittsburgh in 2001.
"I've still got a set of the moose antlers in my garage." – Canucks defenceman Marc Bergevin, who was with Pittsburgh in 2001.
"I think he's been talking too He might have forgotten a few of the words he's said or something. Maybe that's in the heat of the battle. But I enjoy it. There's some talking out there and I don't mind hearing it or giving a little bit, too. It just adds to the fun.'' – Flames forward Jarome Iginla on Canucks defenceman Mattias Ohlund.