Flames rally to eliminate the Canucks, Canadiens and Senators prepare for Game Six and the latest on the Oilers.
CALGARY SUN/THE PROVINCE: The Calgary Flames overcame a 3-0 deficit and a goalie change to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 7-4, winning their best-of-seven opening-round series in six games. An interference call on Vancouver’s Brandon McMillan with the Canucks leading 4-3 early in the third period sparked the Flames’ late rally thanks to Jiri Hudler’s power-play goal, setting the stage for Matt Stajan’s series winner later in the period. The Flames top line of Hudler (two goals, four points), Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau (one goals, two assists each) fueled the Flames rally earlier in the game, while pesky Michael Ferland also tallied twice for the Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This one seemed to be a blowout in the Canucks’ favor early in the game when they took a 3-0 lead and forced Jonas Hiller from the net. Of course, the Flames did what they’ve always done this season, confound the experts and the odds by overcoming the deficits to win the game. The Flames face stiffer competition in the second round against the Anaheim Ducks. As for the Canucks, while this was a disappointing series, the fact they even made the playoffs suggests this rebuilding franchise is on the right path.
MONTREAL GAZETTE/OTTAWA SUN: Canadiens coach Michel Therrien insists there’s equal pressure on his club and the Ottawa Senators to win Game Six tonight in Ottawa. The Senators got a boost in Game Five from Bobby Ryan, who seems back on track offensively after snapping their scoreless streak.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The momentum in this series has clearly shifted since the Habs took a 3-0 series lead. With the Senators having won the past two games, including a 5-1 beatdown of the Habs in Montreal in Game Five, it’s like they’re the ones with the series lead. The Canadiens seem tense and frustrated heading into Game Six, which doesn’t bode well for their chances of victory. The Habs anemic offensive production, a problem throughout the season, is killing them in this series, especially against Senators goalie Craig Anderson, who seems to have their number. I have no problem in saying that if the Senators win Game Six, they will go on and win the series.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis wonders if drafting Connor McDavid could improve the Oilers’ chances of hiring Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock if he becomes a free agent this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It couldn’t hurt, I suppose, though the change in the front office could be a more important factor. That being said, we don’t know if Babcock will even be available, let alone if he’ll consider signing on with the Oilers.