BRITISH COLUMBIA

Flames fall in Game 2, return home to start best-of-five series against Canucks

04/18/2015 02:37 EDT | Updated 07/04/2015 11:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - The Calgary Flames are heading home battered and bruised, but feeling positive about splitting the first two games of their Western Conference quarter-final with Vancouver.

Despite being outclassed for most of Game 2 on Friday night in a lopsided 4-1 Canucks victory that tied the series at a game apiece, the Flames feel they stood up for themselves and sent a message for the next meeting.

"It's the playoffs, they took it to us and we have to learn from it," said Matt Stajan. "It's a best-of-five now, and we have home ice. We have to take advantage."

Stajan was one of the players involved in a line brawl near the end of the game. The ice was littered with gloves and sticks, as Stajan squared off with Vancouver's Brad Richardson while Flames defenceman Deryk Engelland went toe-to-toe with Derek Dorsett. The melee resulted in 132 penalty minutes.

"It's just guys on edge," said Stajan with a shrug. "I don't think any of us are going to back down. Neither team is. You play scrappy. We've got to battle back. We stick together here and we regroup together."

Vancouver, looking to break a seven-game home losing streak in the playoffs, jumped all over in Calgary in the first period and was the aggressor for most of the night. Daniel Sedin and Chris Higgins, while on the power play, made it 2-0 before the first period was at the midway mark.

The Flames were outshot 13-3 in the first period and 32-23 in the game.

"They were better than us in the first period," said Flames coach Bob Hartley. "The Sedins got their first goal. On the second goal we didn't get the puck out on their power play. They had great momentum during the entire game. It was tough to get a good scoring chance on those guys. They deserve the credit."

Defenceman Kris Russell scored in the third period for the second straight game to put Calgary on the board. It was a replay of his game-winning goal in Game 1 — a blue-line blast that cleared traffic and beat Eddie Lack.

"They outworked us and won the battles," said Russell. "This time of year, you can't have shift and periods off, or it hurts you in the long run. We're aware of that. We're a character group in here. We'll learn from experience and be ready for Game 3."

Hartley will likely be looking for more from Calgary's top line of Juri Hudler, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, as the trio have yet to score a goal. Hudler only has one registered shot on net in the series.

"They are playing against the Sedins. We're talking about a 20-year-old centreman (in Monahan) that could have played junior this year. They'll bounce back. They found a way all year. They'll get better."

Game 3 is Sunday in Calgary.