Russell scores late to lift Flames over Canucks 2-1
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Even Bob Hartley is amazed by his Calgary Flames' resilience.
Defenseman Kris Russell scored with just under 30 seconds remaining in the third period, lifting the Flames to a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.
David Jones also scored for the Flames, who were down 1-0 entering the third period. Jonas Hiller stopped 29 shots in the Flames' first playoff game since 2009.
''Those guys are unbelievable,'' Flames coach Bob Hartley said of his team's ability to erase late deficits. ''They always find a way.''
Bo Horvat opening the scoring for Vancouver midway in the second period. Jannik Hansen and Alexander Edler assisted on the play.
Vancouver hosts Game 2 on Friday night.
Russell's shot from the point found its way through traffic after a dominant shift by the Flames that had the Canucks hemmed in deep.
''It was a good play to start off by our forwards,'' Russell said. ''They cycled the puck, they held onto it, they got guys to commit. When you're defending it's hard when guys are cycling and using their speed like that.
''I just tried getting it as hard as I could in a good spot and the guys did a good job in front of (Eddie) Lack. I don't think he saw it.''
Lack made 28 saves for Vancouver, which is back in the postseason after missing out last spring for the first time in six years.
''We just have to learn from the mistakes we made tonight and move on,'' said Alexandre Burrows. ''We'll learn from it and get ready for Game 2.
''We did some good things too. They're a good team over there and they made some plays.''
Horvat snapped a scoreless tie after Lack, in his first playoff start, made a couple of big saves at the other end. The 20-year-old rookie had his first shot blocked, but his follow-up on the backhand nicked off the skate of Calgary defenseman Dennis Wideman in front and past Hiller.
Calgary, which won 10 games when trailing after 40 minutes in the regular season and was tied for first in the NHL with 99 third-period goals, tied the game midway in the final session. After a soft play by the Canucks at their own blue line, the Flames broke in on a quick 3-on-2 in transition, with Jones roofing a shot over Lack.
The goal came on the heels of a pair of big saves by Hiller.
Notes: Vancouver has not won at home in the playoffs since Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final against Boston, a span of seven contests. The Canucks had also lost 10 of their last 11 playoff games overall dating back to Game 6 of the series with the Bruins. ... Calgary rookie Sam Bennett - playing in just his second professional game - had a strong chance after cutting out of the corner before being denied by Lack.