Canucks "Cooke" Flame Goose 

Matt Cooke Scores in 3rd To Secure Win

April 11th, 2004

It was that close.


In a series that many have pegged to go the distance, the Canucks and Flames played another close checking gem, this time with the Canucks coming out on top by game two's identical 2-1 score.

You had that feeling that third period was essentially overtime without all that window dressing.

The team that managed a butt ugly goal in the final frame would find a way to will their way to victory and that's exactly what the Canucks managed when Matt Cooke took a Brendan Morrison pass and fired a high wrister past Mikka Kiprusoff just a handful of minutes into the third.

It felt done. It was done.

Give the Canucks credit, the limited the Flames to very little after that point, keeping the play to the perimeter and essentially sitting on their third period lead.

The Flames opened the scoring in the second period when Chris Simon jumped on a Jarome Iginla rebound and beat Canuck backup goaltender Johan Hedberg.

On the play Calgary center Craig Conroy took a high stick from Hedberg, and inadvertent play as the puck went in the net. Conroy missed the rest of the second period but returned in the third with a full face shield to hide his battle scars.

Hedberg was into the game in relief of starter Dan Cloutier who left the game with an injury that Canuck coach Marc Crawford called "a lower body injury".

A better explanation? A knee injury suffered on a first period save that may be a series ending boo boo for the Canuck stopper.

The Canucks had later injury woes as well when Brad May left with "an upper body injury" when he went into the Calgary cage in the third period.

The Canucks tied the play a few minutes after the Flames had gone ahead when Marcus Naslund cashed in on a second period powerplay rebound and beat Kiprusoff.

Cooke's goal created a third period that had Vancouver more than content to chip the puck out and hang on.

The Canucks played a classic road playoff game, to be honest, not generating a whole lot offensively, but stemming the tide defensively and holding the line against a crowd juiced Calgary Flames.

The Flames pulled the goalie and tried to force the issue late but their push stalled when Mattias Ohlund cross checked Jarome Iginla from behind and into the boards.

Inexplicably the officials turned a blind eye to the play leading to Iginla's attempt at justice by mixing it up with the solid Vancouver defenceman. Both players were sent home early with fighting majors with just 11 seconds left in the game.

The win puts the Canucks up two games to one in the series a margin that was guaranteed with the series shifting to Calgary one apiece. The loss seems somewhat weighty however, in the momentum of  a series, as the Flames will now have to win three of the final four games of the battle in order to prevail. 

A tough road ... and a definite advantage Vancouver.

After the game Darryl Sutter was quite impressed on the chance nixing play of both teams.

"I thought both teams were great in traffic areas", said Sutter. "It was a night where you earned your ice time".

A comment that was very telling considering Toni Lydman's count of only 9:26 and Denis Gauthier's tally of 14:15 - clearly Sutter shortened his defensive bench.

In the wake of the loss the Flames can hold up the powerplay as chiefly responsible, as the crew pitched an ugly ouch for seven in a game where Vancouver was one for four.

The two teams get back at it on Tuesday when game four will be hosted in the expected, equally as loud Pengrowth Saddledome.






1) Marcus Naslund - Pretty much invisible all night but he scored at a key time with the Flames having recently gone ahead, on a powerplay.

2) Jarome Iginla - Set up Chris Simons' goal and sent a message by going after Mattias Ohlund late in the contest.

3) Matt Cooke - Jumped into the play and single handedly changed the course of the third period with his game winning goal.

Johan Hedberg was only a few minutes into the game when he stuck out his glove and snagged a labeled Ville Nieminen blast early in the second.

Denis Gauthier stepped up and drilled Daniel Sedin with an open ice hit early in the second period. The Canuck defender got up off the ice and called it a shift.

If it's possible, it almost seemed like the Canucks losing Dan Cloutier caused a momentum shift towards the Canucks. The Flames from that point forward stopped going to the net, battling for rebounds or forcing the issue. That had better change if Hedberg is forced to be the guy from this point on. ... Craig Conroy had a miserable night for the Flames. Not only did he take a high stick and had to miss a period, only to return with a face shield, but he fought the puck all night long, and got killed in the face off circle. Mr. Yelle? Where are you? ... The Flames leaned heavily on the Robyn Regher, Jordan Leopold duo with the two getting 27:02 and 26:52 respectively. Andrew Ference almost logged 20 minutes himself with the punishment to Lydman and Gauthier. Rhett Warrener took a turn to the tune of 21:31. ... The majority of the fans in attendance tonight were in their seats at least a half hour before the game making more noise well before the game than you often see at any point in a usual hockey game. ... The official number was 19,289 though there was word that they had trouble with the door count. ... How important is Tuesday night? Huge.

Simon Conroy Iginla 
Gelinas Lombardi Clark 
Nieminen Nilson Donovan 
Oliwa Saprykin Kobasew

Regehr Leopold 
Gauthier Warrener 
Ference Lydman

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